By definition, they’re easy points. But they’ve been anything but easy for the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Herb Sendek’s team is connecting on just 62.1 percent of its free throw attempts this year and have left 191 points at the stripe.
“Free throw shooting is a really important part of the game, and honestly it’s something that we’ve done really poorly — I wish I had an easy answer for it,” Sendek told Burns and Gambo Tuesday on Arizona Sports 620. “It certainly makes it more difficult.”
The Devils rank dead last in the Pac-12 in free throw shooting and 329th in the nation — out of 345 Division I teams.
Their lack of prowess at the line has been especially painful in their last two losses. In a four-point defeat at Washington February 2, ASU hit just 6-of-12 attempts. Last Saturday in a three-point loss against Stanford in Tempe, the Sun Devils shot just 50 percent again, hitting 8-of-16.
Sendek channeled his inner-football coach to further explain.
“It would be like driving the length of the field and getting to the other team’s 20, not cashing in for a touchdown and missing the field goal, too. It’s tough. Or if you score a touchdown and only get six because you shank the extra point, it makes it hard.
“When you’re playing against good competition, those points are just invaluable — that’s why they’re always saying put points on the board when you can.”
Maybe some Sun Devils should take Sendek’s football analogy to heart and try to kick the ball in from the free throw line. For instance, Chris Colvin’s Pac-12 free throw percentage of 18.8 can’t get much worse, right?
I kid, I kid.
For comparison’s sake, last year’s team that posted a dismal 10-21 record shot 67.7 percent on free throw attempts — good for sixth in the conference.
The Sun Devils (18-6, 7-4) travel to Utah Wednesday night and Colorado Saturday on a crucial Pac-12 road trip.