I am a high school official and current basketball player. We recently played a game where we lost by one point. Here is the situation, we hit a three to go ahead by two with 15 seconds left and no timeouts left with eight team fouls, and the other team had five team fouls. In high school, average free throw-shooting percentages are 55-60%; in Division 1 college basketball, it’s 68%; and in the NBA, 73%. We have the best player in the league and have not given up a defensive rebound off a free throw all year.
My suggestion was and is to foul with eight seconds or so. Why, you ask? My philosophy is, you do not want to get beat by a lucky three or a breakdown in defensive coverage to let this happen. Instead foul, and put the pressure on them to make both free throws and stop the best player in the league from scoring. That or if this player misses the first or second free throw, they must somehow get the rebound.
All the analytics would be on my side, but everyone disagrees with me, and they hit a wide-open three on a breakdown of coverage as time expired. The future of basketball is to play the percentages and control your own destiny.
For high school or college coaches, this is something I would recommend thinking about doing. This could be the difference to winning those close games.