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Shhh! Terps Are Making Their Free Throws

Gary Williams probably wishes I wouldn't publish this particular blog post. (Okay, to be honest, Gary Williams probably wishes I wouldn't publish a lot of my blog posts, but that's a separate issue.) You see, the Terps are shooting fairly well from the free-throw line. In fact, they currently are leading the ACC in free throw shooting percentage at 79.1 percent. But don't tell anybody. In fact, for those of you who like to read this blog out loud -- and I know you're out there -- keep it to a whisper this time, okay?

"You know, really, you get superstitious," Williams said. "You hate to talk about it. We have some good shooters, some guys that can make open shots. Obviously, a foul shot’s an open shot. We try to approach it with that in mind."

Last season, Maryland made 70.3 percent of their free throws -- not great, but not horrible either. But this year the Terps appear more confident at the line and that has translated into a higher conversion rate, to the point where it's a little suprising to see them miss.

With just more than 16 minutes to play and Maryland up by 11 last night against Elon, senior forward Dave Neal missed a pair of free throws. He seemed shocked. His teammates seemed shocked. Williams seemed shocked. The crowd seemed shocked. After all, Maryland missed three free throws total all night (11 for 14).

"Look, if you’re a good open shooter, then you should be a good free throw shooter," Williams said. "Dave Neal’s a very good shooter, so he should be a good free throw shooter. I think he missed a couple tonight, but he’s a very good free throw shooter."

Agreed. Neal is hitting 77.8 percent of his free throws on the season (14 for 18).

Williams would not go into too much detail last night about the keys to his team's success from the charity stripe (the gods of basketball fortune may have been tuning in to the postgame press conference's Internet video stream), but he did point out a few players who have performed admirably in that area.

Eric Hayes leads the team with a 95.5 percent mark from the free-throw line (21 for 22). Greivis Vasquez is hitting 91.3 percent (42 for 46), while Landon Milbourne is converting 83.3 percent (30 for 36).

By Steve Yanda  |  December 31, 2008; 4:02 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Tidbits On Vasquez


when you start 4 guards and a small forward you would hope you make a decent number of free throws...

Posted by: Lee26 | December 31, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Lee, you always hope to make your free throws. The point is that Vazquez and Hayes were already very solid FT shooters and have become fantastic FT shooters.

Maryland is third in the NATION in FT shooting %. 3rd out of 341 teams! That is excellent, and it has nothing to do with starting more guards, it has to do with the players improving.

Posted by: jathfort | December 31, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Free throw shooting has been a problem for past Terps teams. So, considering the supposed weakness' of this team, I think this is a great strength. I also see that Bowie, who struggled last year, has a much better shooting motion. I think Keith Booth is training those guys well.

Posted by: Trippey | January 1, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

jathfort i respectfully disagree. i'm not saying it isn't a good thing. it is, obviously. and vasquez and hayes have improved a bit. but the big difference you are seeing is dave neal, landon milbourne, and adrian bowie in the starting lineup being a 10%+ advatage over their postition counterpart from last year of bambale osby, james gist, landon milbourne. not reallty rocket science.

Posted by: Lee26 | January 2, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Maryland will finish with a 15-16 record and 4-12 in the ACC



How can any parent let their son - play for a program with a 10 % graduation rate.

Go Tar Heels !

Posted by: hclark1 | January 2, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse


You are a child.

Posted by: Terptwin | January 2, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

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