In 2000, The University News put out a piece by Nick Weber titled “Missed Free Throws Doom SLU In 68-56 Loss.” Almost 20 years later and this same headline could end up right back in the paper.
SLU ranks dead last in Free Throw Percentage in the 350 NCAA Division I programs with 52.5 percent. The runner up lies 3 percentage points ahead of SLU with 55.8 percent.
The Billiken’s loss to Auburn on Saturday showed the detriment of this fatal issue. Auburn holds a 63.3 FT percentage for the season but played an abysmal 46.4 percent in Saturday’s 67-61 contest. The close game could have been closer if the Billikens were able to exploit poor free throw shooting, but the reality is that other teams normally exploit the Bills.
SLU plays three more games before A-10 play starts in January. The upcoming matches will be a good opportunity to focus in on limiting free throws given up, or the more obvious solution, make more free throws.
The Billikens will go up against Division II side Maryville University on Tuesday. The Saints, who are 3-4 on the season, should be a breather for Saint Louis and a good opportunity for St. Louis natives to see the local teams play. Billiken fans should keep an eye on junior guard Jordan Goodwin, who ranks 11th in the nation for rebounds.
The Billikens have been an aggressive second half team, able to pull out big moves to come up with some impressive showings. The Billikens are ranked 66th in initial NET rankings. Maryville will likely be an easy contest for the Billikens getting them ready for a road game against Kansas State on Dec. 21.