News From Terre Haute, Indiana


November 22, 2013

ISU basketball hopes to continue free-throw accuracy

TERRE HAUTE — Taking — and then making — free throws have been important in basketball from the beginning, regardless of changes in offensive philosophy or rules. But when the NCAA mandated that officials consistently call contact fouls, everyone in the game knew that making free throws would take on even greater importance than usual this season.

Indiana State’s men’s basketball team got the message.

The Sycamores have averaged 86.7 points per game so far in their 2-1 start and a big reason for it is their prowess at the line.

ISU has made 86.4 percent of its foul shots. ISU has scored 57 of its 260 points at the line, good for 21.9 percent of the Sycamores’ production.

ISU has gone to the line an average of 22 times per game.

“That’s one of the things the coaches focused on the most with the changes in rules with fouling. We knew we’d get to the line a lot and we know you have to make them late to win games. [ISU coach Greg Lansing] challenged us to raise our percentage. He wanted us to get 30 minutes in a day,” ISU point guard Jake Odum said.

Odum has been most productive of all at the line. He’s made 27 of 29 attempts, averaging nearly 10 points per game at the line alone in ISU’s first three contests.

Odum (and Lansing) said he didn’t want his percentage “jinxed”, but levity aside, it was an emphasis for both team and for Odum in the offseason.

Odum’s free throw percentage has risen each year he’s played, he converted 77.1 percent last season, but Lansing wanted more for Odum’s senior season.

“He challenged me to get over 80 percent and that was one of my goals over the summer. I’m feeling really confident in my free throws right now. I want the ball in my hands at the end of the game. Shooting a good free throw percentage boosts my confidence and it’s what keeps the ball in my hands,” Odum said.

All teams practice free throws and ISU is no different. Lansing has different ways to work on free throws and also considers them to be a core part of the team’s overall philosophy.

“We do different contests with it. We do different games. We run after missed free throws as a punishment,” Lansing said. “When I worked for coach [Steve] Alford [at Iowa] he said making free throws was toughness. We pride ourselves on toughness. We want to get there and make them pay when we get there.”

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