Poor 3-point shooting hasn't slowed down ASU men's basketball

The Sun Devils have risen above poor 3-point shooting during their current win streak

ASU men's basketball has shot under 33% from beyond the arc in four of its last seven games, yet they still managed to win each of these contests.

In an era of basketball where it seems that 3-pointers are absolutely essential, the Sun Devils have pulled out wins when the threes haven't fallen numerous times this season. 

"We gotta take over, simple as that," junior guard Remy Martin said. "Gotta get the win no matter what, cause no matter how anyone's playing, at the end of the day, they're gonna look at who won."

The Sun Devils have done just that. In a 66-64 win over USC, ASU shot 32% from deep. In a nail-biting 74-73 win over Oregon State, ASU shot 28% from the three-point line.

These are just two examples of a reality that the Sun Devils have faced all year: the team can't outshoot opponents, and need to perform well in other departments to get the edge.

It's impressive that ASU has continued to succeed despite poor three-point shooting over the course of its seven-game winning streak, especially as many of these wins were extremely close.

"In basketball, you're not gonna be perfect," head coach Bobby Hurley said. "Although I have a lot of confidence in our guys to shoot well and make shots.

"I think we have a number of guys who are capable of making it, but the data shows that we have not been able to put that together consistently enough to be labeled a great shooting team."

Martin spoke on what the team needs to do to break out of three-point shooting slumps. 

"I think we just need to knock it down," Martin said. "We've been going to the gym every day, we've been shooting every day. We work hard every day, it's just a matter of making shots."

Martin added that teams and players alike go through streaks of poor shooting and pointed to ASU alumnus and NBA star James Harden.

"James Harden, one of the best players, is going through a slump as well," Martin said. "He puts in so much work. These guys just have to continue doing what they have to do and they'll make shots."

Hurley spoke of the importance of making up for poor 3-point shooting through other areas of the game.

"We have to try to crash the offensive boards, we gotta generate turnovers to take pressure off our offense," Hurley said. "There are other ways you could negate (their lack of shooting) some nights where you're not shooting your basketball the best."

Hurley's players are following his advice. The Sun Devils' 152 offensive rebounds in conference play are good for sixth in the Pac-12. In addition to ranking second in the Pac-12 for steals, they've also forced a conference-high 233 turnovers from their opponents.

"We play defense, we get stops, we get out in the open court and try to put as much pressure on them as we can," redshirt senior guard Rob Edwards said. "Just play fast."

It's a testament to ASU's ability to find ways to win when certain aspects of their game aren't clicking. Despite ASU struggling from deep, they're in first place in the Pac-12, which is the most important statistic come tournament season.

Reach the reporter at cvanligt@asu.edu and follow @Connor_VL on Twitter. 

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