In Fresno State’s most recent Mountain West Conference loss, the Bulldogs shot well at the foul line (17-of-20) against Colorado State.
But, so have Fresno State’s last three opponents – who have had much more opportunities to do so than the Bulldogs have.
In Fresno State’s 68-61 loss to Nevada at the Save Mart Center, the Wolf Pack were 30-of-37 from the free throw line.
Boise State didn’t get the chance to make as many free throws as Nevada’s outrageous 37 during its 74-67 home win over the Bulldogs, though the Broncos were still perfect from the foul line, making 26-of-26.
And it was more of the same story Saturday night at home in Fresno State’s 74-63 loss to Colorado State, which made 29-of-34.
Also consider that the Rams would have been 26-of-27 from the foul line without center Colton Iverson’s 3-of-7 showing at the charity stripe.
For Fresno State, the result stems from a combination of physical defensive play and having to play these down-to-the-wire games from behind at make-or-break moments.
Against the Rams, Fresno State trailed 38-20 at halftime, although it pulled back within five, 50-45, with 10:13 to play.
But by that time, Fresno State already had committed six personal team fouls, and was in the bonus.
In the Bulldogs’ three recent losses, opponents have combined to make 19 points off of free throws in the final minute of play.
Fresno State is averaging 22.3 personal fouls in its last three games.
“We’re an aggressive and defensive team,” Fresno State coach Rodney Terry said after Saturday’s loss.
“Our team plays hard on the defensive end, with a lot of effort. But channeling that effort and emotion, in a lot of times, we haven’t done so well in the last three or four games.
“Putting guys on the free throw line has cost us games, because teams have made their free throws. They’ve gotten there and have done a good job at the line. We’ve talked about playing hard, staying in front of the basketball and making guys make contested shots without fouling. It’s just an area that we have to continue to try to improve in and get better.”