There’s a first time for everything, even in basketball

Since, the 3 point line came into college basketball in the mid 80’s and in Maine high school basketball in 1987 the first time I have ever heard or seen of a basketball team ahead by 3 points and less than 7 seconds left in the game and are on defense fouls the other team to put the team on the foul line for a 1 and 1 on a 2 shot foul depending if the single or double bonus is in effect and then tie or lose the game because of this action.

That has been over 30 years. Well it has happened. On December 6th in the Hostra-Monmouth men’s college D-1 basketball game, Monmouth was up three points and fouled with 5.1 seconds left in regulation time. Hofstra made the first free throw and missed the second free throw and the ball got tapped out to a Hofstra player outside the 3 point line and he caught the ball and launched a game winning three.

The strategy behind fouling in this situation is that 4 things have to happen in order for this odd happening to be successful.

First, the foul shooter has to make the first foul shot
Second, has to miss the second foul shot intentionally
Third, get the rebound
Fourth, shoot and make a game winning three or a game tying 2.

The odds are certainly in favor of fouling in this situation. I have said in the past 3o plus years I have never seen this happen successfully. I have seen a lot of games tied up by a 3 pointer which forced an overtime because the defense did not foul in this situation.

I have never seen a game tied up by making the first foul shot and getting the rebound and making a 2 pointer to force an overtime.

When teams foul in this situation, they must practice doing it as they do not get an intentional foul called which is 2 shots and the team that was fouled gets the ball at the spot of the intentional foul. We practiced this situation when I was coaching and we always made sure that we fouled a player who was dribbling the ball so that he could not be considered in the act of shooting. We had the defender try to steal the ball from the dribbler and if he was unsuccessful then he made contact with the dribbler to cause the foul.

We ALWAYS fouled in this situation if we were the team on defense, up 3, and less than 7 seconds to go. We also covered the foul shooter and each of the fool shooter’s teammates man-to-man in this situation.

Monmouth did not put 2 players outside the 3 point line on the foul shots to cover the 2 Hofstra players there. Instead they put 4 players on the free throw lane spaces, leaving one of the 2 Hofstra players outside the arc open. That was the player who got the ball tapped out by one of the 2 Hofstra players who were on the second lane spaces on the free throw lane spaces. This mistake cost Monmouth the game. Always should have all of the opponents covered man-to-man in this situation.

I found this out by reading University of Maine men’s basketball coach Bob Walsh’s blog about this game between Hofstra and Monmouth.

If interested just go to Coach Bob Walsh Blog. The blog is entitled
“Hofstra free throw miss”. He explains the game situation very well.

There is a video of this final game winning play.

I find Coach Walsh’s blogs very interesting, timely, informative and well written.