Defending the three key to stopping ASU

Sean Miller believes the key to beating Arizona State is by taking away the three. Read on to see what he says about that aspect of the game and more.

Arizona may be the favorite over rival Arizona State, but the Sun Devils shoot the ball well enough to be able to get the upset if they get hot from behind the arc.

"A lot of times you can’t control the makes," Miller said. "You hope you can, but the players can make tough shots. You can really control the attempts if you’re back in transition, responsible, and recognize how great shooters are McKissic, Gilling, Barnes, and Holder if he gets his feet set.

"You don’t want them to get 20, 25 threes off. I think they shoot about 23 threes a game in conference play, so if they get those types of looks, I think they could beat anybody on a given night because that shot is so effective and such a separator."

The personnel may be the same, but Arizona State is not the same as the first meeting between these two teams.

"ASU shoots the most three-point shots in our conference," Miller said. "I think they shoot the second highest percentage. They can really shoot the basketball.

"I think they are a team that has changed quite a bit since our first game. Jonathan Gilling and Bo Barnes are much more a part of what they do now than maybe they were then. They play more minutes, are more productive.

"They contribute a ton to ASU’s offense. I think if you look at McKissic with those two, the lion's share of the three-point damage is done by that group."

Gilling has been a major focus of Arizona's defense in the past and that might not change on Saturday.

"I think he is careful and takes great shots," Miller said. "I think when he gets a three point shot off, it is one his coach wants him to shoot.

"He does not force much. He is a four-year player that has been at it now for four conference seasons. He is a senior now and he really has a good feel for what to do out there."

It also helps that the Sun Devils have gotten more consistent play at the point as of late.

"Tra Holder is a young freshman that has emerged as their point guard," Miller said. "When we played them the first time he really was not in that role and he seems to be improving and as he improves, that position solidifies and their team continues to get better.

"I believe they are a much improved team since our first meeting and have been playing some good basketball lately."


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