After Lauri Markkanen missed 11 3s in a row, the 7-footer knew it was time to make a change.
After all, a guy with his shooting touch shouldn’t go an entire calendar month without making a 3.
“I’ve been working on my shot a little bit more now,” Markkanen said Thursday after the Arizona Wildcats beat Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals. “After the ASU game, I’ve been in the gym a lot more. Normally I’m there a lot, but now I’m taking extra shots everyday.”
Markkanen said he now shows up to practice 30 minutes early to get shots in, then shoots for another half hour after practice ends.
But he only shoots at those times — he’s not one to wander over to the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium at midnight.
“I’ll do everything (at once) so I’m sweating just like once a day,” he said. “Lift weights, take extra shots, practice all at once. Then when I’m done I can rest.”
Apparently he prefers to break out of shooting slumps all at once, too. After tweaking his shooting regimen, Markkanen shot 4 of 7 from 3 in Arizona’s quarterfinals win over Colorado on Thursday night, snapping that unprecedented 0-for-11 streak.
Those four 3s were as many as Markkanen had made in the last seven games combined.
“That felt pretty good,” Markkanen said at his locker at T-Mobile Arena after the game.
And while Markkanen altered the number of shots he fired this week, his mindset didn’t change.
“I have the same mindset,” said Markkanen, who head coach Sean Miller has said has a knack for staying even-keeled.
His confidence wasn’t shaken, either.
“I believe every shot’s going in,” Markkanen said. “Otherwise there’s no point in shooting.”
Markkanen’s turnaround on Thursday propelled the Wildcats to their best offensive output in recent memory. Arizona shot 56 percent from the field, 10 of 19 from 3, and 22 of 30 from the line in its 92-78 win over Colorado.
The Finn scored 20 points and, for the first time since Feb. 8, he made more than one 3-pointer in a game.
Given his struggles heading into the game, his prolific night seemed to come out of the blue, but we should have seen it coming after Markkanen sank the first 3 he took.
“I always believe that when he makes one, it’s going to go in from there,” teammate Parker Jackson-Cartwright said, “and that’s what happened today.”
Arizona is hoping it happens throughout the rest of the postseason, too.
“He’s an important piece,” Allonzo Trier said of Markkanen, “and we want to keep him rolling and playing at a high level of basketball.”
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