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WVU On Pace For Program’s Worst Free-Throw Shooting Team in 33 Years

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To say that West Virginia is a poor free-throw shooting team would be an understatement. Despite shooting 12-of-27 against No. 15 UConn, WVU was still able to sneak past the Huskies 56-53. As the team is a month into the season, the Mountaineers are on pace for being the program’s worst free-throw shooting team in 33 years.

WVU comes in at 347th in the country in free-throw percentage, as of Thursday morning. The Mountaineers are 101-of-165 (61.2 percent) on free-throw attempts in the 2021-22 season. The 1988-89 West Virginia team shot 58.5 percent from the line. The Gale Catlett coached team ended up going 26-5, making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The only Power-5 school to be worse, somehow, than WVU this season is Southern California. The Trojans are shooting 56.8 percent from the charity strike, and the craziest part is that they’re 9-0.

“We’ll fix it,” WVU guard Taz Sherman said after the game. “We’re going to be a better ball club once we start making our free-throws.”

Sherman leads the Mountaineers in free-throw percentage with 82.4 percent, shooting 42-of-51 so far. Let’s take a look at the rest of the team’s free-throw shooting this season. The chart below goes from most attempts by a player to the least.

PlayerFT ShotsFT Percentage
Taz Sherman42-5182.4%
Malik Curry12-2352.2%
Gabe Osabuohien6-1931.6%
Keddy Johnson7-1546.7%
Sean McNeil11-1478.6%
Jalen Bridges7-1353.8%
Pauly Paulicap7-1353.8%
Isaiah Cottrell6-966.7%
Dimon Carrigan3-742.9%
Kobe Johnson0-10.0%

Other than Sherman, McNeil and Cottrell, there’s not a single player that shoots over 54 percent from the free-throw line. Yes, you read that right, only three players are shooting over 54 percent from the line. How does Bob Huggins feel about that?

“They’ve got the greatest facilities in America,” Huggins said. “That place is open 24/7 for them and there’s six baskets in there.”

Huggins is talking about the basketball practice facility that was opened in 2012. Before this, the players had to use the coliseum court, where all of the sports shared to practice on. The basketball players now can go inside whenever they want to, to work on their game.

For Huggins, this would be his worst free-throw shooting team he has ever coached if the season ended today. Luckily, the season is still int he early stages, so I’m sure Huggins and his staff will be making the team shoot from the line in practice until their arms fall off.

Both Sherman and Huggins said that they only way you’re going to get better at free-throws is working on them. The team better fix the problem quickly because they’ll be welcoming in the best free-throw shooting team in the country, in Kent State, on Sunday. The Golden Flashes are shooting 81.9% as a team from the line.

They’re called ‘free’ for a reason. The toughest opponent WVU has faced all season isn’t any team, it’s the free-throw line.

(Top Photo: Julia Mellett / WVSN)

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. He currently is an intern with the Final Fourcast podcast. Ethan has covered WVU football and men’s basketball for the last year. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio.

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