MADISON – Kobe King recently acknowledged he needed to stop worrying about making mistakes and start focusing more on making plays.
Wisconsin’s redshirt freshman guard attacked the basket three times in UW’s 64-60 loss to Maryland on Monday, though the results were mixed.
King’s first two drives ended with his shot being blocked by Bruno Fernando.
His third, on a fast break, resulted in a foul on Ricky Lindo and two free throws.
UW coach Greg Gard appreciated King’s aggressiveness on the first two drives but noted his player could have used a fake to draw a foul instead of going straight up.
“I thought he could have made a better decision at the rim in terms of drawing contact,” Gard said.
King, by the way, played 27 minutes against the Terps. That was 14 more than starter Khalil Iverson and a season-high mark in Big Ten play for King, who entered the night at 15.8 minutes per game in league play.
King finished with five points and three rebounds. Iverson had one rebound and one steal.
Getting to the line
Free-throw disparity – Maryland hit 24 of 29 attempts and UW hit 3 of 6 – was a topic of discussion after the loss.
Gard and the players acknowledged the need to get to the free-throw line more often, though the disparity Monday wasn’t nearly as significant a factor as it appeared.
Maryland built an 18-point halftime lead despite having only three more free-throw attempts than UW (7-4). The difference in the first 20 minutes was that Maryland hit 5 of 10 three-pointers; UW hit 0 of 8.
Nevertheless, it must be noted that UW is shooting fewer free throws per game than last season.
UW averaged 19.4 attempts per game last season. That number is just 15.9 this season.
Opponents’ attempts are up slightly, to 16.2 per game from 15.4 last season.
“That’s something we talk about all the time,” guard Brad Davison said. “We’re constantly trying to get looks inside and trying to draw contact.
“I don’t know if we’re avoiding contact. It’s something we talk about, something we’re trying to improve.
“I’m not saying it is the refs. It’s just something we need to get better at.”
Maryland had 14 free-throw attempts in the first 29 minutes 22 seconds and held a 49-33 lead. The Terrapins’ final 15 attempts came in the last 10:38 when UW was rallying.
Guard Anthony Cowan led Maryland with 13 attempts, most drawn on drives. However, there were instances in which Cowan was fouled away from the basket.
Purdue’s Carsen Edwards drew two fouls while shooting three-pointers – one against Iverson and one against Davison – in the Boilermakers’ victory over UW and both fouls were avoidable.
Iverson reached in for the ball far from the basket and Edwards smartly rose up to shoot and drew the foul. Davison went underneath a screen in chasing Edwards and then challenged the jumper from a bad position.
“Coach talks about that a lot,” forward Nate Reuvers said. “We’re going to foul guys on bang-bang plays. But we’ve got to get rid of those dumb fouls, whether it is going for an offensive rebound and pushing a guy in the back or a foul on the perimeter, using your hands.”
UW’s plan against Maryland was to swarm Fernando near the basket with a hard double-team.
The Terrapins foiled that strategy twice early by taking advantage of a flaw in the double team to move the ball quickly for open three-pointers.
Ethan Happ and Reuvers doubled Fernando both times, first on the right side of the lane and then on the left side of the lane.
Both times Happ jumped into the air, however, which allowed Fernando room to maneuver and move the ball to a guard.
On the first play, he passed to Darryl Morsell, who found Eric Ayala open on the left wing. Ayala hit the shot for a 5-4 Maryland lead.
On the second play, Fernando dribbled away from the double team and passed to Morsell, who hit the open shot for an 8-4 lead.
“We didn’t double properly,” Gard said.