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Player of the week

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Austin Loop

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Player of the week

Austin Loop, Marshall men's basketball sophomore guard, shoots the ball against UTEP Jen. 24 at the Cam Henderson Center.

Austin Loop, Marshall men's basketball sophomore guard, shoots the ball against UTEP Jen. 24 at the Cam Henderson Center.

Richard Crank

Austin Loop, Marshall men's basketball sophomore guard, shoots the ball against UTEP Jen. 24 at the Cam Henderson Center.

Richard Crank

Richard Crank

Austin Loop, Marshall men's basketball sophomore guard, shoots the ball against UTEP Jen. 24 at the Cam Henderson Center.

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Austin Loop, already leading C-USA in three-pointers, put on a shooting exhibition in Saturday’s home win over Western Kentucky University. Loop canned six of his 10 three-point attempts en route to a game-high 23 points. In addition to his career-high, six three-pointers, Loop went a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line. Loop has been a lethal three-point threat all season, where he has made 69-177 three-pointers this season for a 39 percent clip. In fact, 78.4 percent of his made field goals and 83.1 percent of his total field goal attempts this season have come from behind the arc. The perimeter shooting has made Loop into a game-to-game scoring option this season as he ranks second on the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game.

Loop’s three-point shooting prowess is well documented, but his team-leading 32.3 minutes per game is a strong indication he has developed into a well-rounded and reliable, overall player. Loop is a solid defender who showcases excellent effort and disciplined technique in terms of his stance and foot movement. He has worked on becoming more comfortable working off the dribble this season. However, Loop’s true value is as the sharpshooter he’s always been known for. In head coach Dan D’Antoni’s pace and space type offense, Loop’s shooting forces defenders to stay disciplined and open up space and driving lanes for his teammates. 

“[Teams] have started shading me a little bit more and that opens up the floor for everyone else,” Loop said. “If [teams] are guarding the middle hard, then I’m getting shots and vice versa. Being a threat as a shooter is nice, but if I could add going off the dribble to my game, that makes me that much harder to guard. When you can’t just expect me to shoot a shot every time and know that I can go off the dribble, which I’m working on. I’m working on my pull-ups now, but if I can just get to where I can handle the ball a little better.”

Bradley Heltzel can be contacted at [email protected]

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