first_imgWhen Trevor Cooney makes a 3-pointer, he lets everyone know it.Early in games, the fifth-year senior may subtly pump his fist or throw three fingers in the air. In a close contest, he’ll backpedal to half court and flex his muscles through a scream. If Syracuse has a comfortable late lead, he’ll scan the crowd, leave his follow-through up and let a smile spread across his face.No team knows this better than No. 25 Notre Dame (14-5, 5-2 Atlantic Coast), which will visit the Orange (13-8, 3-5) for a 7 p.m. game in the Carrier Dome on Thursday. Two of Cooney’s best career performances have come against the Fighting Irish, a program that offered him a scholarship while he was canning 3s at Sanford (Delaware) School. The first was a career-high 33 points and nine 3s during his sophomore season, and the second was when he scored nine crunch-time points with a sprained back to help SU upset then-No. 9 UND last year.Next is the third, and possibly final, chapter of the Cooney versus Notre Dame series. It’s been one-sided to date, and another marquee performance from Cooney could be a big boost for Syracuse’s fluctuating tournament hopes.“Well it certainly starts and ends with Trevor Cooney when it comes to the Irish. He’s been the designated Irish killer, I mean, has the guy missed a shot against us in the last two years?” UND head coach Mike Brey said on the ACC coaches teleconference Monday. “It’s unbelievable. So you know I’m always concerned about him, and he’s had a great career.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTechnically, Cooney has missed a few attempts against Notre Dame. He was 11-for-15 from the field and 9-for-12 from 3 in 2014, and 5-for-11 from the field and 1-for-6 from 3 while battling his back injury in 2015. But Brey’s overall sentiment checks out: Cooney thrives against the Irish.How he’ll match up with this Notre Dame team remains uncertain, as starting point guard Demetrius Jackson will reportedly sit with a hamstring injury. Brey said that Jackson’s replacement, 6-foot-6 freshman guard Rex Pflueger, is a very strong defender. But Cooney’s been drawing teams’ best defender for much of this season, and that would pit him against 6-foot-5 guard Steve Vasturia.“Well everybody gives Trevor Cooney a tremendous amount of attention, there’s no question about that,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said on the teleconference Monday. “They put their best guy on him and they get him uncomfortable, they don’t help off him. That opens up some lanes, it does open up some shots.”Boeheim said this one day after Cooney was blanketed by a mix of Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes — both top-notch on- and off-ball defender — in a 73-65 loss to then-No. 13 Virginia. Cooney scored eight points and shot 3-of-13 from the field. Boeheim, despite the 47 combined points from Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson, didn’t think SU took enough advantage of the attention Cooney drew.UND promises to handle him with a similar level of care. The Fighting Irish has fallen victim twice to Cooney’s ability to shift momentum with a single jump shot. Limiting his celebrations is directly linked to limiting the Orange’s upset chances on Thursday.But that remains much easier said than done, especially for Notre Dame.“He has the ability, and we’ve seen it,” Brey said. “He can jump-start a run and he’s done it against us, so he’s the number one concern on our scouting report.” Comments Published on January 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+last_img