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Gbinije contributes off bench, Cooney emerges in second half of Syracuse win

first_imgPITTSBURGH — At halftime there was an unusual face atop Syracuse’s scoring column: Michael Gbinije.The small forward-turned-point guard-turned-small forward again saw an expanded role with Baye Moussa Keita’s injury — he was the only bench player to get in the game for the No. 1 Orange — and took advantage with a seven-point first half.He played some point guard, as he has often done this season, and he played shooting guard, too. But he also got a chance to move back to small forward a handful of times with SU (24-0, 11-0 Atlantic Coast) forced to go small without Keita.Gbinije didn’t score in the second half, but he played 22 minutes during Syracuse’s 58-56 win against No. 25 Pittsburgh (20-5, 8-4) on Wednesday in front of 12,935 at Petersen Events Center.“He gave us a great first half,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “I thought he played really well in that first half.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith Trevor Cooney cold to start the game — he missed his first two 3s — the Orange turned to Gbinije for its first triple of the game.He played effectively on the wings of the zone and insisted on getting the ball out in transition whenever he pulled in a rebound as the point guard. Facing Pitt’s staunch defense, his decisions let Syracuse get some baskets in unsettled situations.And when Gbinije disappeared on offense, Cooney emerged. The guard hit a pair of 3s in the second half, including one with 6:55 remaining to knot the game at 45 — the first tie since it was 14-14 midway through the first half.He got hot enough, and is enough of a consistent threat, that when Tyler Ennis charged down the floor for his last-second shot, the mere threat of a Cooney game-winner gave the freshman an easier path.“Somebody for Pitt ran to Trevor because he was on the same side as me,” Ennis said. “I pretty much had to beat one guy.” Comments Published on February 13, 2014 at 1:49 am Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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