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Free Throw Frustrations

One of the consistent bright spots for the Terps this season has been their dramatic improvement at the free throw line. They soared to the top of the ACC in free throw shooting percentage, and Gary Williams often joked (well, we think he was kidding) that the team's progress at the charity stripe was brought about because he took over free-throw instruction at the beginning of the season.

No word on whether Williams is still claiming ownership of such a role.

Maryland, which entered yesterday's game shooting 78.8 percent from the free throw line, made 13 of 19 from the charity stripe (68.4 percent) against Florida State. The Terps missed four free throws (5 of 9) in overtime, which proved crucial because the Seminoles weren't performing too much better from the line. Florida State missed three free throws of its own in overtime, all in the final 16 seconds.

Perhaps most surprising, Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes -- two of the top free throw shooters in the country -- were off the mark from the free throw line. Vasquez, who had not missed a free throw in 35 attempts, dating back to Dec. 3 against Michigan, missed two of four free throws Saturday. One miss came in overtime. Hayes was shooting 92.3 percent from the charity stripe entering the day. He attempted only two free throws all afternoon, though they came in overtime and he made only one.

"I thought Eric and I really struggled a lot today," Vasquez said. "I think that was the difference."

Granted, it's unfair to expect Vasquez, Hayes or anyone else to be perfect from the free throw line. But with the game on the line, who would be the Terps you want at the free throw line with a chance to tie or take the lead? Vasquez and Hayes would be reasonable choices, which means, like it or not, they get held to a higher standard.

By Steve Yanda  |  January 18, 2009; 7:46 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Also, don't forget that awful backcourt call at the beginning of OT. That was another possession without even a look at the basket, and could have made up for the Jump Ball call on Milbourne at the end. Kudos to the guys for getting the game into an Extra Session. The UVA game on Tuesday is a 'must win'.

Posted by: jrraley | January 18, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Gee, I wonder why 90% free throw shooters miss at the end of an OT game. Is it perhaps becuase they have to play over 35 minutes a game and maybe they are a bit tired of logging so many minutes?

This of course is a direct result of Gary not getting quality players into the program and now having to rely on a jumpshooting team to progress through the rigors of a very physical ACC season.

With no inside presence whatsoever to speak of, this team lives and dies on it's shooting and their inability to get to the free throw line with ANY consistency. Have you noticed that they have not attempted a free throw in the first half of their last two ACC games? That's pathetic.

How on Earth does Gary allow a National Championship program to deteriorate to such a level that he can't even be bothered to get any interior players to play for his program.

I know he has two very good players coming on board next season but this team needs help right here, right now. Gary should never have allowed this to happen to a top NCAA program.

As sad as it is to say, this program is right back where it was before the days of Joe Smith and Keith Booth. We've come full circle.

Posted by: ARickey | January 18, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I agree with both comments above (have to win UVa game)...we have come full circle, plus players playing 1 or 2 years takes it toll on a program, and MD has had it fair share over the years...the only time in the last 15yrs. we had a good group for 4 years, yep, that group won the National Title!

Here is how they have to finish for any NCAA talk to be for real...
1/20 UVA - Win
1/24 @ DUKE - (heart says win, anything is possile here) but - L
1/27 BC 7:30 - Win
1/31 MIA 8:00 - Win
2/03 @ UNC 8:00 - (heart says win, anything is possile here) but - L

So at this point we are 4-4 in ACC, not bad!

2/08 @ GT 7:30 - Win (5 - 4 in ACC)
2/14 VT 4:00 - Win (6 - 4)
2/17 @ CLEM 7:30 - (heart says win, anything is possile here) but - L (6 - 5)
2/21 UNC 3:30 - (heart says win, anything is possile here) but - L (6 - 6)

2/25 DUKE 9:00 - (heart says win, anything is possile here) but - Win here - we get one back, possibly 2 back w/ win against UNC, but probably this one, it means more I think (7 - 6)

3/01 @ NCST 7:30 - Win (8 - 6)
3/03 WFU 9:00 - This is one great team this year, a lot of interchangable parts, my heart says win being at home, but w/o any low post presence - L (8 - 7)
3/07 @ UVA 3:30 - Win (9 -7) - could go either way, but hopefully the early tough loses, the team learns how to close one out!

So, at best, 9 - 7, at worst, 8 - 8, and getting 1 game in the ACC tourney....I think this team will get an at large bid, w/ large wins against Mich St and Mich eaarly in the season, adn also, quite possible, a Vermont or some other team we play, wins their Conf. Tourney and gets a bid, it can bode well for, Bowie will continue to get better and Mosley will close games all we will need is GV or Hayes to hit one more FT or one more Jumper....(in the stinky games, these guys are shooting like 20-30%...that is making only 2 or 3 shots out of 10 shots, so come on guys...or any other player, just hit that extra lay-up) in both recent loses, that is what it was, who ever missed a FT in Regulation yesterday, we missed the chance to win one on the road, or that one more jumper in Miami.

It is not all boohoo, this team is better than last years, more heart, more fight, they outrebounded a much taller team yesterday, that says something, playing on the raod.

I agree, I cannot understand lack of talent w/ the NCAA title in the years following, but this year GW was putting his eggs in the 2 players who were here then gone before school started (the one transfer from VaTech and the one player getting a 2nd/3rd chance)....go figure, things just don't go our way like most, we just have to accept it.

Go Terps, don't overlook UVa (w/ Duke next)!

Posted by: talbottj | January 18, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

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