Sun Devils on pace to live and die by the three-point shot this season

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

With 27 shots from behind the arc taken on Tuesday night against Cornell, ASU showed that they will rely heavily on the long ball to win games this year.

The Devils may have managed to snake away with a win over Cornell Big Red on Tuesday night, winning 64-53, but by no means was it pretty. The defense played well, forcing 22 turnovers for 18 points, but it was the offense that seemingly struggled. ASU was rendered incapable of penetrating the lane or feeding big man Jordan Bachinsky, which made things very difficult for them.

So instead of trying to continuously force their way inside, the Devils decided to start chucking away from the 3-point line. And at first, this looked like a poor strategy. ASU was shooting 3-18, good for 16.7% from behind the arc entering halftime. With the team on pace to shoot 36 threes and down by three points at the half, it just didn't look like their night.

In the second half, they shot only nine threes, but there was a slight twist to their story. They made five of their nine more threes taken, good for a 56% clip. Still, it took them 27 attempts to make 8 3-pointers. By no means is that a respectable rate.

With the 27 attempts taken on Tuesday and 40 the prior two games, the Devils are averaging 22.3 three-point attempts this season. It seems that they will be content with shooting this many threes throughout the season, but I, for one, don't see that as a wise idea.

They have a top flight point guard in Jahii Carson that is able to navigate his way through the lane fairly smoothly. From there, he can dish it off to his 7'2" center, Jordan Bachynski, who has a great height advantage over his opponents on most nights. Why the Devils don't continue to feed him is beyond me.

And what happens when the opponents become more difficult? Can the Devils still shoot at a decent (although, it wasn't even that against Cornell) rate when they begin playing PAC-12 opponents? Or will the speed of guards on scholarship at good schools be able to close them out faster? I am leaning towards the latter.

Either way, after watching the game tonight, this could very well be a long season for the Sun Devils. They need to cut down on the threes, penetrate the paint and feed the big man. Right now, that seems like a pretty distant cause.

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