LAS VEGAS — In his more expanded role this season as a sometime-starter for the University of Colorado men's basketball team, Tre'Shaun Fletcher is conquering new hurdles on the fly.
Last week provided another learning lesson for Fletcher — when the long-range shot isn't falling, try something different.
Mired in a miserable shooting slump, Fletcher helped himself out of the mire by attacking the basket during last week's win against Hampton, an approach the junior hoped to continue heading into Tuesday night's late start against Penn State in the Las Vegas Classic.
"It definitely got me going," Fletcher said of his 3-for-4 night against Hampton. "Getting an easy one, that helped out a lot. I also wanted to try and get to the line a little bit, and I did that. Easy stuff, just getting to the free throw line and getting a rhythm going, I think that would be a better thing than just jacking up threes."
Rotating in a starting role alongside Josh Fortune and George King, Fletcher averaged 5.4 points a game last year as a sophomore but entered the Penn State contest averaging 7.8 points so far this season. After recording five double-digit scoring games through his first two seasons, Fletcher had produced four such games prior to the Las Vegas trip. He has eclipsed his previous career-best scoring performance three times this year and set a new personal standard with 17 points against Portland.
However, Fletcher's season also has run hot-and-cold, balancing outbursts like a 7-for-8 outing against Portland with rough shooting outings like a 1-for-7 performance against Air Force.
Entering last Saturday's game against Hampton, Fletcher had gone just 2 for 14 from the floor in his previous two games, which included a 1-for-11 mark from 3-point range. Yet in his first scoring chance against Hampton, Fletcher drove to the basket for an easy layup. It led to a solid nine-point effort as the Buffs extended their winning streak to 10 games.
"When the jump shot's not going, you have to find other ways to score," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "And the only way to do that is attacking the rim. Getting to the free throw line, laying the ball up. All of our guys have to understand that. Our team has to understand that — when the jump shot's aren't going in ... we always want to attack, but I think sometimes we rely on the jump shot a lot. So we all have to learn from that."