West Virginia’s Big East-style bout against former Big East Conference foe UConn Wednesday night showed this Mountaineers team’s ability to defend home court against a ranked opponent.
It also showed, among other things, that there is still work to be done at the free throw line.
The Mountaineers went just 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) from the free throw line Wednesday night.
“I think it shocked everybody that we kept going up there and missing,” Bob Huggins said afterwards. “They figured maybe one of them would go in, maybe they’d bank one or something.”
Taz Sherman (4-for-7) and Sean McNeil (4-for-6) were the only Mountaineers that finished the game with more makes than misses from the charity stripe.
Gabe Osabuohien was just 2-for-8 from the free throw line, and is shooting just 31.6 percent from the stripe on the year.
WVU, as a team. is shooting just 61.2 percent at the foul line this season. That ranks last among the rest of the Big 12 teams which, on average, make over 69 percent of their free throws.
“There’s only one way you fix it, and that’s you go in and work on it,” Huggins said. “I think at least most of them will.”
Sherman said he and his teammates would do just that.
That’s what Huggins is hoping for, multiple times acknowledging the state-of-the-art practice facility that sits beside the WVU Coliseum.
Luckily, West Virginia has been able to win games despite the issues at the line.
The win over Pittsburgh was the first time WVU won while shooting below 50 percent from the charity stripe since 2016. In fact, Wednesday’s win over No. 15 UConn marked the first time that WVU shot below 50 percent from the free throw line and beat a ranked team at least since Bob Huggins took over as head coach in 2007.
WVU’s two sub-50 percent performances at the line this season already match the most in any season since West Virginia joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012-2013.