Smith 3-point streak now at 67 games, “it’s a blessing”

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Smith 3-point streak now at 67 games, “it’s a blessing”

Junior guard Mack Smith drives past two defenders to the rim in Eastern’s 84-59 win against Tennesse Tech on Jan. 18 at Lantz Arena.

Junior guard Mack Smith drives past two defenders to the rim in Eastern’s 84-59 win against Tennesse Tech on Jan. 18 at Lantz Arena.

Adam Tumino

Junior guard Mack Smith drives past two defenders to the rim in Eastern’s 84-59 win against Tennesse Tech on Jan. 18 at Lantz Arena.

Adam Tumino

Adam Tumino

Junior guard Mack Smith drives past two defenders to the rim in Eastern’s 84-59 win against Tennesse Tech on Jan. 18 at Lantz Arena.

JJ Bullock, Editor-in-Chief

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Eastern’s junior shooting guard Mack Smith will not be found at the top of most three-point shooting leaderboards. He shoots a respectable 35.5 percent, third on his own team and outside the top-15 in the OVC. He is fifth in the OVC in made threes this season (44) and attempts just about seven a game.  

Yes, Mack Smith might not be lighting up leaderboards with his three-point shooting, but a strong case could be made that Eastern’s 6-foot-2 guard from Indianapolis is the most impressive three-point shooter in the country.  

That is because with his made three-pointer six minutes into Eastern’s 84-59 win over Tennessee Tech on Saturday, Smith extended his streak of games with a made three-pointer to 67 games, the longest active streak in the NCAA and third longest in the history of Division I basketball.  

The last time Smith did not make a three-pointer in a game was Jan. 4, 2018, or 748 days ago, in a 61-52 Eastern win against Morehead State.  

“It feels good,” Smith said of keeping his streak going. “It’s a blessing showing that hard work really does pay off and no matter what I do I just get to keep it going. I try not to worry about it, but somehow it is just what I do.” 

Smith has a chance to bring his name to the top of the leaderboard in his career, knock on wood and grab your lucky rabbit’s foot, that is if he keeps the streak going. The second-longest streak in NCAA history is 73-consecutive games with a made three-pointer set by Virginia Tech guard Wally Lancaster between the years 1986 and 1989. Smith could pass Lancaster on Feb. 13 in Lantz Arena against Southern Illinois Edwardsville.  

Smith cannot break the record this season which was set by Illinois’ Cory Bradford, who made a three in 88 consecutive games during his playing career between 1998 and 2002. 

It is not a given by any means that Smith will catch either Lancaster or Bradford, but if you were to ask Smith’s teammates, they’d tell you it’s more improbable that Smith goes without a three in a game.  

Smith’s teammate Kashawn Charles, who leads Eastern and is second in the OVC with a 51.3 three-point shooting percentage said Smith’s streak is not something they think about on the court… because they already know Smith will knock one down regardless of what anyone does.  

“We know it’s coming every game,” Charles said. So we not even worried about it, he shoots three’s, that’s what he does, so we just know even in the first half he might be 0-of-10, we know it’s going to fall eventually so we’re not even worried about it.” 

Eastern head coach Jay Spoonhour said that the streak at this point feels like watching a pitcher throw a no-hitter, as in it may be bad luck to talk about it, but also said there is no point in pretending it does not exist.  

“(Smith) is happy, he makes a shot and people cheer, that’s cool” Spoonhour said. “I’d rather have a guy in that streak than the other streak of never making one.” 

Oddly enough, in Spoonhour’s long basketball career, Smith’s three-point streak may not be the most ridiculous three-point streak he has seen. UNLV, where Spoonhour was an assistant and interim head coach, had a streak where the team made a three-point basket from every game in 1986, when the line was added, to at least 2002 when Spoonhour got there.  

“That was the most stressful thing ever because you did not want to be the one who ‘yeah it was those idiots who broke our streak,’ people cared about it, they really cared about it,” Spoonhour said.  

Spoohour said he was not sure if the UNLV streak was still going or not but was positive it was not broken while he was there. But being a part of that streak has given Spoonhour a little insight into what Smith is going through right now.  

“One good thing about (it) is at this point it is a really good accomplishment, even if it ended tomorrow,” Spoonhour said. “It was great and so hopefully he can feel that way… but obviously he will want to keep it going.” 

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].