Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hyped from the Charity Stripe

Check out tomorrow's New Haven Register for a piece about UConn's vastly improved free throw shooting. Here are some of the more eye-popping numbers regarding the Huskies' efforts from the charity stripe this season:

Over their past two games – a blowout win over then-No. 13 Marquette and a gutsy, comeback win on the road against Cincinnati – the Huskies have attempted a combined 76 foul shots. They’ve hit 65 of them, good for an 85-percent rate.

From the 15-minute, 54-second mark of the second half of the Marquette game to the near-identical point (15:44) of the latter half of the Cincy game – almost exactly 40 minutes of basketball – the Huskies hit an astonishing 49 out of 53 free throws.

UConn is hitting 70 percent of its free throws overall and 76 percent in Big East play (good for third in the conference). That’s a huge improvement over a year ago, when the Huskies shot just 63 percent from the line (61 percent in conference).

There is no better example of UConn’s improvement at the charity stripe than Hasheem Thabeet. Last year, still relatively new to the game, Thabeet hit just 51 percent from the line. Following Wednesday night’s 8-for-9 effort, the 7-foot-3 center is knocking down freebies at a 72-percent rate.

After going 8-for-8 from the line vs. Cincinnati, Craig Austrie has missed just two out of 30 attempts all season and has hit 20 of 21 in conference play, tops in the Big East.

Doug Wiggins (93 percent), Gavin Edwards (83), Jerome Dyson (80) and A.J. Price (72) are all shooting quite well from the line, as well. The only players who struggle are Jeff Adrien (60 percent), Stanley Robinson (55) and Curtis Kelly (54).

On an unrelated note:

Some juvenile prank callers sabotaged the weekly Big East media conference call Thursday morning. Every few calls, someone identifying themselves as a writer for a paper (some real, some fictional) asked coaches questions that would get big laughs in junior high school.

“I wish some people would get some lives,” Jim Calhoun remarked.

Someone identifying himself as "Mark Price from the New Haven Register" tried to get in a question to Calhoun, but fortunately Big East media director John Paquette had started screening the calls and recognized the guy was a phony. Ironically, I was next in line (fortunately, Paquette is familiar with me).


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