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.
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