Coming in with an immediate expectation for him to score from deep, Cooney has answered with successes from beyond the arc as well as some missteps, but he is seeing improvement in himself. "I feel like it's getting better," said Cooney. "I was able to hit two early on [versus Providence], and then I had some good moves in the second half, same moves I had in the first half. They just weren't able to fall for me. But, I mean, I had some good looks from three, but I didn't square myself on some of 'em."
Cooney made his first two attempts from the field in less than 40 seconds, but would miss his final four.
"But, I mean, [I] definitely felt a lot more comfortable out there," he remarked.
When asked what effect the return of another deep threat in senior forward James Southerland has meant to the Orange, Cooney remarked, "It's good, it's good. James [Southerland] helps us space out. I mean, he's a guy that you gotta respect from the three-point line. And when he's making shots, it's makes the offense a lot better. We flow a lot better. And, it's obviously good just to see someone just making shots, so it's contagious really."
But, Syracuse has had difficulty scoring at times and have come up short on the road, with all four of their losses coming away from the Carrier Dome. "We've had some tough games on the road where we kinda got behind early," Cooney recalled. "We still fought our way back, but it was just kinda too late. And, I mean, it's still something that we work on, but it's hard to win on the road. And you gotta come out. You gotta play your best. And we're looking forward to our next couple road games to go out there and prove that we can win on the road." The Orange will have two more road trips, first to Wisconsin to face the Marquette Golden Eagles and then to D.C. to compete against the Georgetown Hoyas before heading to Madison Square Garden in New York City for their final Big East Conference Tournament.
Before that happens, Cooney will experience what it feels like to be on the court for the first time in the historic Syracuse – Georgetown rivalry. "I'm excited," Cooney expressed. "It's a great rivalry, and, I mean, it's going back awhile now. And it's something that I've always watched as a kid, so it's fun to be a part of now."
Though not on the floor, Cooney was inside the Carrier Dome the last time Syracuse fans set a new bar for largest on-campus crowd for an NCAA basketball game with 34,616 back in 2010 against the Villanova Wildcats. "That's when I committed," Cooney recalled. "I committed actually right before that game."
"That was fun," he added. "I mean, it was really loud at the Dome and it was interesting to see all the people way in the back."
Enjoying seeing the fans for the most recent record, Cooney admits that the match at home versus the Hoyas only adds to what he experienced before. "That was 34 [thousand], so now we're gonna look at 35 [thousand], so it's gonna be fun," said Cooney. "I mean, the sport here is great and, I mean, for 35,000 to come out for a basketball game is unbelievable."
Tickets have been sold to areas of the Carrier Dome that do not even provide good views, but people purchased them anyway to be a part of the Orange – Hoyas feud in its final showing at the Dome with both teams in the Big East. "It's great fans," Cooney expressed. "They can't even see the game. I mean, they could be at home, watching it and have a great view on TV. But for them just to be a part of the experience and help cheer us on, it's unbelievable. And, it's great support."
After this season, Syracuse will move to a new frontier in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Asked if he will miss rivalries like Syracuse and Georgetown, Cooney admitted, "Oh without a doubt. Growing up on the east coast, I mean, you watch Big East basketball...and you don't really get to watch the other conferences because the Big East, and how dominating it was. But, I mean, it is what it is and it's moving, so, I mean, it's time to start new rivalries and get new games going. So, it'll be interesting and, I mean, it is what it is, so we look forward to it."
As far as having the 35,000-plus put together an "Orange Out" for the game, with each fan donning Orange at the Dome for the contest against the Hoyas, Cooney is all for it. "Yeah, without a doubt," Cooney remarked. "I mean, that would be fun to see."