We will be unveiling a new feature this season where we look behind the scores each night to find some statistic from the previous night’s games that was particularly illuminating on how that particular game was played and the way it factored into the outcome.
Tonight’s number is 66.7%. That is the percentage of field goal attempts taken by William & Mary that were three-point attempts in their game last night against Saint John’s. Out of 48 field goal attempts, the Tribe took 32 of them from beyond the arc. While this might not be unusual at the Division III level where many teams take a ridiculous number of three-point attempts (22 schools averaged more than 17 made 3-pointers per game for an entire season since 1995), it is far from the norm in Division I basketball where teams tend to be much more conservative with their offenses. Last season, the Tribe were among the more prolific three-point shooting teams in the country as they finished 40th in the nation in three-pointers made with 250 made in 32 games (7.8 per game), but even then they only averaged 21.5 attempts per game, which was “only” 43.5% of their total field goal attempts. Even the most prolific three-point shooting team in the country, VMI, who averaged a Division I-leading 11.3 made three-pointers per game (next best was 9.4) only took 31.6 three-point attempts per game or 47% of their total field goal attempts.
In the end, it was one of those “live by the three, die by the three” situations as the Red Storm were able to withstand the Tribe’s barrage thanks to some poor marksmanship (and the 21 turnovers certainly didn’t help the Tribe’s cause either). The Tribe finished the game 11 of 32 from three-point range going 7 of 21 in the first half and 4 of 11 in the second half so they were fairly consistent with their poor shooting, but it reflected in other areas of the game where they were not attacking the basket as they attempted a measly four free throws all night compared to 25 for the Red Storm. While three-point shooting can be a boon for teams trying to pull off an upset, we doubt that many teams will be able to get away with such a heavy reliance on three-point shooting and walk out with the victory.