Free throws not coming free for men’s basketball

Free throws not coming free for mens basketball

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

The court is cleared and no defenders are in a shooter’s face during free throws — the ball just has to be put in the basket.

This season the SIU men’s basketball team is shooting free throws at a 70.4 percent rate, which ranks 126th in the country and sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference.

This is a slight improvement from last year’s 70.2 percent mark, which ranked seventh in the MVC.


Junior forward Sean O’Brien said consistency has been the team’s main issue.

In the Salukis’ nine games so far this year, the team has shot less than 65 percent in three games. But, they have have also shot above 80 percent in another three, including a perfect nine for nine in the lone loss of the year against UTEP.

Three of the seven players who have taken at least 10 free throws are shooting less than 70 percent from the free-throw line, including junior starting point guard Mike Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said consistency has also been an issue for him and free throws are both mental and physical.

“It’s really just repetition [in practice] and having more focus at the line,” he said.

Coach Barry Hinson said teams can’t do much to fix free throw shooting, but he has made it a point of emphasis this year.

O’Brien said that practice scrimmages are officiated with more fouls called, which results in more free throws during practice. 


“Coach is calling a lot of fouls defensively, making sure we keep our hands off [opposing players],” he said.

The extra free throws in practice may be benefiting the Salukis, as the team has shot 77 percent from the line in the last four games.

A boost in free throw percentage may help SIU in the future — the Salukis are fourth in the MVC in free throws taken per game, shooting an average of 22.9 per game.

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3304