I try to keep an eye out for anything new that’s analytically-driven in college basketball, and here’s a different approach to the end of the half: intentionally fouling a bad free throw shooter to get your team an extra possession. San Francisco did this against Pacific on Saturday and netted two points out of the deal.
College basketball end of 1st half situations are ripe for squeezing out more points. @CoachToddGolden's Dons did that last night by fouling a poor FT shooter in the single bonus and adding 2 more points to their lead, so I had to make a quick explainer video. pic.twitter.com/dntqNB81yW— Neil Johnson (@neilmjohnson) January 12, 2020
The kid the Dons fouled was 5-14 at the free throw line heading into that game. By fouling, the Dons gave themselves a possession they would not otherwise have had—assuming Pacific would have just played for the final shot of the half.
I wouldn’t expect this strategy to start spreading like wildfire, but clearly in the right circumstances, it’s worth pursuing. Namely, you need to be able to foul a poor shooter, and you need a single-bonus situation. Those two things aren’t going to apply in every game, but when they do, a little manufactured opportunism can provide you with a quick boost. San Francisco ended up winning the game by four.