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Free throw line excursions pay off for Terps

Maryland made numerous trips to the free throw line Saturday en route to a 24-point win over N.C. State -- 33 to be exact. The Terrapins made a concerted effort to get the ball into the paint (either by drive or by pass) and force the Wolfpack to make contact, a strategy that paid considerable dividends, specifically in the first half when Maryland still was trying to stretch the lead and break away from its opponent.

Led by sophomore guard Sean Mosley, the Terrapins shot 72.7 percent (24 for 33) from the charity stripe against N.C. State. Mosley himself shot 8 for 13 (61.5 percent) from the free throw line.

Maryland easily made more trips to the foul line Saturday than it had against any other ACC opponent this season*, and while the Terrapins might not continue to rack up quite as many free throw attempts per game as they did against the Wolfpack, they should position themselves to attempt a good number of free throws the rest of the way provided they keep up their current effort level on the boards.

* From the free throw line in ACC play thus far this season, Maryland shot 9 for 17 (52.9 percent) against Florida State, 19 for 25 (76.0 percent) against Wake Forest and 10 for 14 (71.4 percent) against Boston College.

The Terrapins won the rebounding battle again on Saturday, though this time it wasn't as surprising that they did so. N.C. State entered the game as the ACC's worst rebounding team. Still, another strong showing for Maryland on the boards is nothing to discredit, especially, as Coach Gary Williams pointed out, since second chances often can lead to heading to the free throw line.

"A lot of times if you can get a second shot, that's where you get fouled," Williams said Saturday. "Many times on a long rebound for a second shot, you get it and you drive it and the defense is out of position because they were all rebounding and you get fouled in those situations. When you have somebody like Sean and Landon, who are strong. And Greivis, who is stronger than he looks, when they take it to the basket part of getting fouled is making sure the referee can see that you're fouled. In other words, if you can hold onto the ball when that guy hits you, that guy hangs on you a little bit and it's pretty obvious that you got fouled."

In the first half -- when the score was still close -- Maryland out-rebounded N.C. State on the offensive glass, 9-7. The Terrapins made 13 of 16 free throw attempts before the intermission.

One of the reasons Maryland pulled away in the second half was its hot shooting touch (66.7 percent from the field), which meant there were fewer offensive rebounds to grab. And still, the Terrapins attempted 17 free throws and made 11. That was more a reflection of Maryland continuously finding a way to get the ball inside.

The Terrapins are averaging 22.2 free throw attempts per game and are shooting 70.2 percent from the foul line, which ranks No. 4 among ACC teams.

If Maryland can continue to overachieve on the boards and remain persistent in getting the ball into the post one way or another, the free throws will come. And as senior forward Landon Milbourne pointed out, if the Terrapins can establish an inside presence early on, that will open up opportunities for the team's perimeter shooters.

"Usually when you get the ball inside and everybody pays attention to the inside players we get the kick-out and people like Eric (Hayes) and Cliff (Tucker) can come in there and hit open threes all day," Milbourne said. "That’s what we were trying to do. One-on-one, we got to the basket. We got our fouls. We got to the line a couple of times in the first half and that’s what really extended the lead for us. And, you know, if we just keep that formula, it may continue to work for us."

By Steve Yanda  |  January 25, 2010; 8:01 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Bench's job is to not halt the flow


FT % shooting coud be higher. There is some honest criticism. JW looks like he can shoot FTs, and I heard he was working double time on them but his 50% hit rate needs to improve - especially near the end of (close) games. Look to see improvement in this stat over the course of the next few games. The FL State game was the first instance in a long while where it appeared a GW coached team was not hitting its FTs...not that it mattered tremendously in the end result.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | January 25, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

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