By The Numbers: UH Free Throw Shooting


Kelvin Sampson made light of fans talking about free throws at his radio show Monday night. It was pretty funny, and you should give it a listen. Joseph Duarte recorded it.

While it was funny, free throws are a concern. UH ranks 235th in the country in FT shooting and 287th in free throws made per game (there are 352 D1 basketball programs). The Coogs are top-20 in 12 different statistical categories but near the bottom of the pack regarding free throws. Everyone has their theories as to why.

In the Final Four season in 2021, UH was 16th in free throws, made with 435 (shot 73.1%) during this year; UH is 287th in shooting at 69.7%.

Compare the 2022-23 season so far to the last three. FT% is up from a year ago, but the makes per game have been trending downward.

YearFTM/FTAFT%Makes PGAttempts PG

This team, while it shoots better than last year’s team, is behind the team that went to the Final Four and the one canceled for COVID. In both shooting percentage, makes, and attempts.

Ok, so let’s look at this season. How about home, away, neutral, Fertitta, and other games.

LocationFTM/FTAFT%Makes PGAttempts PG
All Away69/9374.2%8.611.6

This team is worse at home than they are on the road. Odd. They’re best in true road environments. I did not expect to see that when I started compiling numbers.

I decided to break it down by halves at Fertitta. Players from this team and previous teams talk about how the two rims are different at Fertitta, the one on the far end from the UH bench being harder and the one closer being softer. Facts? Mental? Who knows.

What I do know is that UH gets two more free-throw attempts in the second half, and they make them both.

HalfFTM/FTAFT%Made PGAttempt PG

Here’s the free throw percentage by month. UH slid down from December to January, while opponents went the other way. Why is that?


UH has been better in AAC games, going back to December 28, but opponents have been even better. UH slips a little in home AAC games while opponents improve their overall numbers.

HOU AAC games108/15470.1%
OPP AAC games125/16277.2%
HOU AAC Fertitta75/10968.8%
OPP AAC Fertitta82/10677.4%
HOU AAC Road33/4573.3%
OPP AAC @Home43/5676.8%
HOU Last 3 games34/5759.6%
OPP Last 3 games40/4883.3%

Oddly, UH is a better FT shooting team on the road, usually in packed arenas with the opposing fans going wild. Meanwhile, UH opponents shoot better at Fertitta than at home (though not by much).

The last three games are just pitiful.

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