It always stirs debate when attempting to answer the question of whether to foul or not to foul when on defense, up by three points and with less than eight seconds left in the game
After watching literally thousands of high school basketball, college and NBA games as an official, coach and fan since the 3-point shot came in during the 1980’s, it just proves my point that teams should always foul in that situation.
I have never witnessed a situation in which a team that was fouled and had a 1-and-1 or a 2-shot foul, ever tie the game up. However, I have seen plenty of 3-pointers made when a player isn’t fouled that tie the game and send it into overtime.
In the tourney at the Cross Center, the bad strategy of not fouling has occurred several times. In one game both teams failed to foul when up by three and less than 8 seconds left. The first time it happened, a 3-pointer was made and in the second situation the 3-pointer was missed.
In another game, a 3-pointer was made that forced the game into overtime, but the team that did not foul won in overtime.
My teams always fouled in this situation, but teams must make sure not to foul a 3-point shooter in the act of shooting.
Fouling in this situation must be practiced. Put time on the clock and play an end-of-game situation so players know how to foul in this situation.
You can foul the player receiving the ball if the pass comes in from a throw-in, but make sure you go for the ball and if you do not get it, then immediately foul the player who is receiving the pass. If you miss, then make sure you foul him while he is dribbling.
Also, it is important to practice making the first shot and missing the second one. Many times when teams try to miss the second shot intentionally, you will see lane violations on players.
You want the ball to bounce off the rim on the miss so that you have a chance to get the offensive rebound for a put back to tie the game.
Again, I have never seen this done successfully as four things have to happen: make the first foul shot, miss the second foul shot, get the offensive rebound and make the basket off the rebound.
I will take the odds of making a 3-pointer versus having to do the four things successfully to tie the game up.
I have seen top college teams not foul in this situation. In fact, in the Duke-Syracuse game at the Carrier Dome a couple of weeks ago, Syracuse did not foul in this situation twice and both times Duke hit 3-pointers to tie the game up and force overtime.
I saw one of Bobby Knight’s Texas Tech teams not foul in this situation several years ago and the opponent hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer and forced overtime, which Texas Tech lost.
I have seen it also occur in NBA games.