Trevor Cooney, Syracuse's sharp shooter who many fans wanted off of the team last year, has become a huge weapon for the Orange both in transition and in the half court offense. Entering the game, Cooney was shooting 46% from beyond the arc.
On Tuesday, Cooney hit five of his nine attempts to raise his shooting percentage from the three point arc. He finished the game with 21 points, but that wasn't the most impressive part of his game.
Lost in the three game sweep in Maui as the subpar defensive performance by the Orange. Specifically at the top of the zone. Last season, Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche gave teams fits with their length. The smaller backcourt this season has not fared as well.
With a talented, albeit young and inexperienced, Indiana team in town, Syracuse locked that end of the floor down holding the Hoosiers to just 37% shooting on the night. That started with ball pressure, rotations and traps at the top.
Cooney finished with four steals, as did his backcourt mate Tyler Ennis. The two forced more turnovers than that, however, via shot clock violations, travels and the like.
Ennis was about as efficient as it gets, scoring 17 points while attempting only eight shots. He would make six of those attempts, including his only try from deep. Filling up the box score, Ennis would add eight assists and seven rebounds while only turning it over once.
Those type of numbers are becoming a theme for the true freshman point guard, who's court vision, poise and basketball IQ are well beyond his inexperienced years.
The two guards together are giving Syracuse a lethal one two punch in the backcourt. The ability to handle, run the half-court offense, get out into transition and shoot well from the outside make this pair a weapon for the Orange this season.
As they continue to improve on the defensive end of the floor, the ceiling is limitless for both Ennis and Cooney. With the athletes Syracuse has in the front court, it makes Syracuse an even more dangerous squad than most realized coming into the season.