West Virginia Basketball: Foul Shooting Must Improve


No. 17 West Virginia displays a winning record and is currently behind only Kansas in the Big 12 conference standings.

Despite the winning record, there are still lingering issues amongst the Mountaineers. One area for concern is the team’s foul shooting.

Jan 10, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Juwan Staten (3) shoots on the court before playing the Iowa State Cyclones at the WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Mountaineers are coming up short when it comes to foul shots. As a team, West Virginia is shooting 66 percent from the line. While it isn’t the most alarming percentage — the missed free throws will eventually plague the Mountaineers and perhaps cost them a game or two.

Compared to the rest of the league, West Virginia ranks 236 in the nation in foul shooting percentage.

In the Mountaineers last outing versus Kansas State the Mountaineers went 21-29 (72 percent) from the free throw line.

One player in particular that isn’t producing from the line is the Big 12 preseason player of the year, Juwan Staten.

Staten is a 73 percent free throw shooter, which isn’t bad, but what’s critical about his free throw shooting is the “clutchness factor.”

Going back to West Virginia’s wild victory over TCU, Staten was faced with crucial foul shots down the stretch and he failed to produce. Staten went 10-15 from the line that game and it’s ironic that the deciding factor in that game was a pair of foul shots from freshman Jevon Carter.

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Imagine the flack Staten would’ve taken had the Mountaineers lost that game.

As a team, against TCU, the Mountaineers went 22-32 (68 percent) from the line. Missing 10 free throws against the Horned Frogs nearly cost the Mountaineers the game and missing 10 foul shots will surely come back to haunt West Virginia in another Big 12 contest.

This conference is too deep and too competitive for a quality team like West Virginia to be missing foul shots down the stretch.

Not to mention the way the Big 12 games are being officiated. In West Virginia’s game against TCU, 64 fouls were called and against Kansas State 54 fouls were accounted for.

TCU head coach, Trent Johnson chalked his team’s loss to WVU up to the free throw shooting.

“I have no comment on that,” Johnson said when asked about the officiating. “Like I said, we were 28 ­of ­44 from the free throw line. I’m going to take the high road and my team won’t make excuses.”

This could have easily swung a different way and head coach Bob Huggins could’ve been the one saying how foul shots cost his team.

High amounts of fouls are being called in this day and age of college basketball and if West Virginia’s foul shooting woes aren’t corrected it’ll haunt the Mountaineers when it matters most.