Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

SLU Experiencing Free-Throw Woes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

SLU Experiencing Free-Throw Woes

Article excerpt

Scratching and clawing for offense in a winnable game against Rhode Island, St. Louis University squandered four opportunities to add points at the free-throw line in one-and-one situations.

Thus, eight potential points went unclaimed in a game in which the margin was never greater than eight until the final minutes.

Those situations are becoming common for the Billikens, and they are magnified for a team that ranks last in the Atlantic 10 in scoring with a 60.6 average entering Tuesday's game at George Washington.

SLU is shooting 65.7 percent from the line and 56.3 percent in the last three games. Two were losses that could have been more interesting with a few more freebies.

"We talk about it and work on things with some guys with technique and thought process," coach Jim Crews said. "I think you should have the same process shooting in the gym in July or shooting with the national championship on the line."

The Billikens went eight for 14 against Vermont but pulled out the win. They started two for10 against Vanderbilt and had missed the front end of two one-and-ones and still managed to be within seven with seven minutes left.

Against Rhode Island, the one-and-ones were squandered by three players. Ash Yacoubou was among them and has been in a free-throw funk at a time when his overall shooting has improved. He has made one of his last eight attempts.

"I was making a lot of free throws and started missing some," he said. "But I try not to let it get to my head. Every time I make one I think I'm going to make the second. Even if I miss, I think I'm going to make it. I'm going to get back to it."

Milik Yarbrough, who draws a lot of fouls, is shooting 51 percent, Yacoubou is at 59.2 percent and Reggie Agbeko, Davell Roby and Marcus Bartley are all at 62.5 percent. Although Austin McBroom is shooting 77.4 percent, it's a drop from last year's 90 percent.

For every free throw a player misses in a game, Crews requires he make 25 in the following practice. That routine hasn't improved results.

On the bright side, as inconsistent as SLU has been, the Billikens are nowhere near the bottom of the A-10, in which bad free- throw shooting has been contagious. The league's 14 teams are shooting a cumulative 66.7 percent. …

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