For the first three years, the southpaw pulled the ball behind his head, kicked his legs out and added a huge hitch in his shot before he finally released it. For that reason, Pace attempted only five 3-pointers last year, hitting only one.
Pace has been worked every summer since arriving in Syracuse on smoothing out his form. This year, Pace believes he's finally got his jumper worked out.
"If I get a good look," Pace says, "I'm going to take it."
And that's exactly what he did with seven minutes left in the first half of Syracuse's 104-54 win over Northern Colorado Thursday night. Pace, who finished with 13 points, found himself open along the left baseline and launched a 3-pointer.
Gone was the leg kick, but Pace still brought the ball awkwardly behind his head and also retained a slight hitch. The shot missed, but it could be the first of many more attempts to come this year because Pace believes he can hit those shots on a consistent basis.
"Hopefully," Pace says, "it will be a positive and help get us to where we want to go."
Another noticeable difference was in Pace's free-throw shooting. He shot just 39 percent last year and was notorious for line-driving his shot at the hoop.
Pace went 1-for-2 from the free throw line Thursday and had a noticeable arc in his shot.
The addition of a jump shot would be an excellent addition to Pace's arsenal – which includes the ability to finish in traffic. It would also help take the heat off guard Gerry McNamara, who was Syracuse's lone reliable threat from downtown last year.
"Anybody that can hit shots on this team is a plus," freshman Josh Wright says. "You know Gerry's going to do what he does. Anything that can help him is a plus."
Pace's jumper looks better, but no results - yet
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