New 3-point line doesn’t bother Mesa State’s Flohr

Sean Flohr shooting the three for Mesa St

It’s only about one step back, so to a good shooter, it’s not a big deal.

When the NCAA rules committee voted to extend the men’s 3-point line from 19 feet, 9 inches to 20 feet, 9 inches this season, shooters didn’t flinch.

“I enjoy it,” Mesa State College junior Sean Flohr said. “One foot I don’t think makes that huge a difference. We were all probably shooting from there anyway. You don’t really think about that as a shooter, you just let it go.”

Flohr showed that extra foot didn’t make a difference Saturday night when he launched five 3-pointers in a 21/2-minute span — and hit all five. That shooting helped Mesa State take a 2-point deficit to a 10-point advantage on the way to the Mavs’ first victory of the season, 83-52 against Caldwell (N.J.) College.

“My teammates did a really good job finding me,” Flohr said. “They were penetrating and getting in the gaps and causing the defense to squeeze. All I had to do was toe up.”

Flohr, a 6-foot-5 forward from Glenwood Springs, is a tough matchup on the perimeter because of his height, long arms and high release. He’s been coming off the bench to provide some offensive punch on a team that’s pretty well balanced through the top 10 or 11 men.

“I really like offense off the bench and he does a really good job,” Mesa State coach Jim Heaps said of Flohr. “He fits with those other kids off the bench. Those two fives are split pretty even and there’s a lot of ability in that second group.

“We can go 10 deep and those 10 guys are going to play every night and we’ll see from there. Michael Bear played well last weekend (a 6-7 redshirt freshman) so we can probably start going 11 deep.”

The Mavericks (1-2) play their annual Holiday Inn Thanksgiving Tip-Off tournament this weekend in what turned out to be a Colorado classic, with Western State (1-1), Colorado College (1-4) and Johnson & Wales (2-4) in the field.

Mesa State plays Colorado College today and Johnson & Wales on Saturday, both at 8 p.m. Western State has the early men’s games, at 4 p.m. both days.

At Brownson Arena, the men’s 3-point line is the maroon stripe, the women’s line the white stripe — should help the men’s game, Heaps said, by cutting down on the number of players firing away.

“What it eliminates are bad shooters shooting it, the people who are pretty shaky at that range, you move them back and they aren’t going to try it,” he said. “Good shooters it doesn’t affect one way or another. Now, the NBA line, you could see a serious drop.”

Funny he should mention the NBA 3-point line, which is 23 feet, 9 inches from the basket.

“We had a game that had the NBA line and everybody was shooting from the line when we didn’t need to,” Flohr said of the Mavs’ exhibition game at Utah Valley University. “You stick a line out there and everybody stands behind it for no reason. We were watching film and saw us all shooting from there.”

The Mavs hit 7 of 20 in that game (35 percent), and Flohr netted all three of his attempts.

As a team, Mesa State is shooting 34.5 percent from the 3-point line and 45 percent overall.

Last season Mesa State shot 36 percent from the shorter 3-point line and 48 percent overall, so early on, it doesn’t appear to be hurting their averages.

Another one of Mesa’s long-range shooters, guard Andre Carter, isn’t bothered by the new line.

“It’s a little further, but it helps us take better shots, I think,” the senior said. “It’ll increase our shot selection. The ones we’re missing are just rimming out, things we can fix. That NBA line (at Utah Valley), everybody was just trying it. It was pretty far.”

The Mavericks are happy to be home for the first time this season, especially around the holidays. Most of the players’ families travel to Grand Junction for the long weekend, and the Mavs’ eyes light up when their moms head to the kitchen.

Flohr spent the holiday in Glenwood Springs for some true home cooking.

“I like being home for the holidays, a little family time,” Flohr said. “They’ll be at all the home games.”

Flohr’s father, Kevin, made more than a few long jumpers when he played for the Mavs, scoring 1,586 points — without a 3-point line.

And like all good Glenwood Springs graduates, Flohr will be keeping tabs on the Demons during Saturday afternoon’s Class 3A football state championship game.

“Let’s go Demons!” he said. “I’d be in serious trouble if I said no, right? They’re real good. It’s cool to see them back in the limelight again. They’re definitely an offensive juggernaut.

Forty-some points a game? That’s crazy.”


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