On Tuesday, Patrick Lowndes, a 6-foot-2 forward, drove to the basket aggressively and flipped in a layup while he absorbed contact from a defender and drew a foul with two minutes left in the first half. Lowndes then missed his free throw, but hustled to the ball and again threw it at the rim drawing another foul and made his second free throw giving the Lions five points in five seconds.
“You want to make the first free throw, obviously,” said Lowndes, a sophomore journalism major. “But if I don't make it, I always try to fight and get the rebound.”
Free throws proved to be a key factor in Emerson's 60-49 comeback win at Emmanuel College, as the Lion's made more free throws than field goals in a game where both team's shooting percentages suffered.
The Lions ended the game shooting 22-35 shots from line, 15 attempts above their season average.
“We did not make as many as we wanted to,” said Michael Thorpe, a freshman guard and a writing, literature, and publishing major. “But we took a lot, and when you take a bunch of shots, you’re bound to make some, and we took advantage of our opportunities when it counted.”
Brian Hurley, a freshman forward and marketing communication major, said the free throws helped the team overcome a stagnant first half in which it took the Lions nine minutes to enter double figures.
“Our coach and our captains sat us down in the locker room at halftime and said we should be embarrassed with how we played in the first half,” Hurley said. “It was a tough pill to swallow, but it was true. And so we wanted to come out in the second half and be really aggressive and free-throws were the result.”
Emmanuel fouled Emerson a total of 29 times, and caused Emerson to enter the penalty bonus with 10 minutes left in the first half.
Head Coach Jim O'Brien said that in general the team has been decent at shooting free throws, but the lack of consistency made the game harder than it should have been.
“With this group, nothing is easy,” O'Brien said. “This is another game we probably did not deserve to win, but I give our kids a ton of credit to grind out this win.”
The men's basketball team improves to a 13-9 overall record, and 11-4 in conference play. Their next game is Saturday against Suffolk University.
Deffebach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.