Richmond Finds An Outlier Scenario In The "Fouling When Up 3" Debate With Loss To Charlotte
The debate has raged all season as to whether a team is better off fouling the opponent when up by three in the final seconds to deny a possible game-tying 3-point attempt. Ken Pomeroy blogged last month that defending rather than fouling may actually win slightly more of the time, but there's no 100 percent dead-set answer. It depends on game situation, opponent, how good your team is on the glass, etc.
I'm pretty sure no one discussed the "Get T'd up boxing out for a rebound on the first free throw" scenario, but Richmond tried that one out today to disastrous results in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament.
Leading by three with under five seconds left, Richmond fouled Charlotte, but on the first free throw, Spiders big man Derrick Williams was called for a technical foul for shoving a 49er (h/t @TheBigLead) on the boxout. Charlotte made the second regular free throw and then, because the play was called a technical foul and not a player foul, Charlotte got to a) choose the free throw shooter and b) then got possession of the ball. The 49ers made both free throws to take a one-point lead and Richmond was then forced to foul.
It just got worse from there. On the subsequent play, Richmond was called for fouling a player attempting a 3-point shot after he put the ball up when contact arrived. Then Richmond head coach Chris Mooney lost it and got T'd up twice and was ejected from the game.
The 49ers had seven more free throws coming and made enough to eventually win 68-63. The final tally: 11 free throws shot in the final five seconds of a game, and an eight-point swing. Oh yeah, the Over/Under was 130.5. Seriously.