The Arizona State Sun Devils had no clue they were closing in on the program’s record for 3-point field goals in a single game during their 97-73 win over the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels on Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena.
“We didn’t know,” senior guard Torian Graham said. “We was just trying to win.”
The Sun Devils connected on 18 of 36 3-pointers, tying the program high set on Nov. 20, 2009, against San Francisco.
The performance also marked the first time ASU had made at least 50 percent of its 3-point attempts since it did during a 78-72 win over Colorado during the 2014-15 season.
Head coach Bobby Hurley has said throughout the early stages of the season he knows his team is capable of high-quality shooting performances, but he says tonight’s outing was a result of his unit’s high effort.
“We were in a good groove on offense,” Hurley said. “I think a lot of it was based on how we started and the energy we had.”
The Sun Devils were cool, calm and collective from the perimeter.
ASU’s first seven field goals came from behind the arc, catapulting the Sun Devils to a 20-6 lead nearly seven minutes in after conceding the contest’s first four points. It wasn’t until forward Sam Cunliffe rattled in a jumper with 9:20 left in the first half did the Sun Devils make a field goal worth only two points.
The result produced a 51-32 halftime advantage in which ASU outshot UNLV 13-3 from outside.
Tra Holder (3 of 4 3-pointers in first half), Obinna Oleka (1 of 1), Shannon Evans II (3 of 5), Cunliffe (1 of 2), and Graham (4 of 7) were responsible for the first-half output, however Graham said the hot shooting wasn’t necessarily contagious. He said he and his teammates simply took advantage of their open opportunities.
“Tonight, everybody had it going. It didn’t matter who shot it,” Graham said. “We were just trying to pass the ball around. Drive-and-kick and find the open person.”
Ball movement keyed the Sun Devils’ strong shooting performance.
By the end of the game, ASU compiled 18 assists, a total Hurley was happy with.
“We made the extra pass tonight,” he said. “We moved the ball well and took what the defense gave us.”
Hurley noted the lineup’s inclusion of sharp-shooters such as Evans (28 points), Graham (22), and Holder (20) enables offensive success.
“I knew that we could potentially have these type of shooting games,” Hurley said. “It was exciting to watch, especially in the first half.
“Not a whole lot of complaints about how the guys competed and played tonight.”