Bu≠s misfiring on 3-point shots
boulder» The Colorado Buffaloes still believe their long-range shots will start falling. They just hope it happens before Pac-12 men’s basketball games begin in about two weeks.
As CU prepares for what should be a get-well game Saturday at home against Division II Fort Hays (Kan.) State, the Buffs’ ailing 3point percentage remains a frustrating enigma. Had the Buffs shot anywhere close to the success rate they posted last season, a number of their early-season shortcomings, such as getting outrebounded soundly in a 79-71 loss at BYU last weekend, probably would have been glossed over by ugly yet readily acceptable victories.
Instead, the Buffs (7-3) enter their final three nonconference games still seeking last season’s league-leading outside touch that helped propel them to a fourth NCAA Tournament berth in five seasons.
“We had 17 wide-open 3s against BYU. ‘Shooting fish in a barrel’-type 3s, like ‘being in the gym by yourself’-type 3s,” said CU coach Tad Boyle. “We had 17 of them that we missed.
“I’ve got confidence in our guys. These are the same guys that led the league in 3-point shooting last year. We haven’t forgotten how to shoot. We just haven’t been making shots here recently.
“I thought our shot selection against BYU was good for the most part. We had three bad shots, which I can live with.”
Among the more glaring culprits of the Buffs’ errant long-range shooting has been senior Josh Fortune, usually a dependable 3point threat.
Fortune has shot 0-for-7 behind the arc (and 0-for-13 overall) the past two games. A career 34.4 percent 3point shooter coming into the season, Fortune’s 3point performance has dipped to 27.8 percent. Also, he has struggled to contribute in other ways. During the shooting slide of the past two games, he has played a total of 49 minutes and produced only six rebounds, two assists, three turnovers and no steals. He is 31-for-35 at the freethrow line this season, but because he has shot more than two free throws in only three of 10 games, that impact has been negligible.
In their three losses, the Buffs’ best free-throw shooter has attempted a total of only two free throws.
“I just need to see one go down,” said Fortune, who is averaging 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds. “I have to go back to doing other things to get myself going, like playing hard defense. I don’t worry about the past. I just worry about the future and what I can control. I can’t control the shots. Some are going to go down, and when they do it’s going to be good.”