When K-State has the three-point shots falling, the Wildcats can accomplish great things.
The best evidence of this came Jan. 30 when the Wildcats (18-9, 8-5 Big 12 Conference) made 12 three-pointers and knocked off then-No. 2 KU 84-75 at Bramlage Coliseum.
Since then, K-State has averaged 6.5 three-pointers per game and has dropped five of its last eight games. Freshman guard Jacob Pullen, who leads the team with an average of 1.3 three-pointers made per game, said the team hasn’t shot well since the KU game.
“We haven’t made shots like that since the KU game,” Pullen said. “Other games we made shots, but we haven’t made threes and that’s going to be important.”
K-State will continue its attempt to out-shoot opponents from the perimeter when it plays KU at 8 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
It hasn’t just been shooting the three-point ball that has been hurting the Wildcats, but it has also been defending the three-point line.
In K-State’s 74-65 loss to Texas on Monday, the Wildcats made seven three-pointers, but allowed the Longhorns to make 10 three-pointers, ultimately causing K-State to lose by nine points.
Freshman forward Bill Walker said the three-point shot is important for the Wildcats because when they are making the shots, it makes playing easier for freshman forward Michael Beasley, K-State’s leading scorer at 26.2 points per game.
“When we are able to hit threes we can stretch out the defense and we are able to get the ball in to [Beasley] and he can work inside,” Walker said. “When we don’t, it’s been a big factor in our last couple of games.”
Pullen reiterated the comments from Walker that teams are able to focus more on Beasley when they don’t have to focus on the outside shooters.
“[Three-pointers] are really important with [Beasley] being down low and teams don’t respect our shooters if we don’t make shots,” Pullen said. “If we don’t make shots, it’s going to be hard for us to win games.”
With five Wildcats players averaging around one three-pointer made per game, Pullen said it will take a team effort to improve the perimeter shooting when another player is missing his shots.
“It’s a team effort so if I am not making shots, hopefully [Stewart] is and if he isn’t make shots then Blake [Young] got to make shots, and if not him, it’s everybody – teams aren’t going to allow [Beasley] to beat them by himself.”
Walker summed up the shooting problems with a small message that shooting woes are just part of basketball.
“You can’t have a great record day every day, you got to learn to live with it.”