The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


November 13, 2013

Fouls and scoring up in college basketball



The worst offenders — or in this case defenders — came at the Niagara-Seton Hall men's game on Saturday. The two teams combined for 73 fouls and 102 free throws. At the Morehead State-Libscomb women's game Sunday, the two teams combined for 64 fouls and the game took nearly 2½ hours. There were 90 free throws taken in the game, which Morehead State won 82-77.

On the other end of the spectrum, Villanova and Mississippi Valley State combined for just 18 fouls on Saturday. The game wrapped up in a quick 1:28.

"We had a conference call with all the coordinators and everyone was on board that we were getting the results we wanted and what coaches wanted," said Debbie Williamson, secretary-rules editor for NCAA women's basketball. "Everyone was saying that we liked the way it looked. I was getting text messages saying this looks so much better. This was an old school game and this was great."

Scoring peaked at 70.7 points for the women in 1982-83 and has steadily been on a decline since. The points of emphasis seem to be working early as points are up. Teams are averaging just over 70 points, which is eight more than last season's record low and the highest since the 1990-91 season.

Men's teams are averaging 76.0 points through the first few days, an increase from last season's 67.5 — which was the lowest in men's basketball since 1952.

Even with increase in fouls, not everything has been caught. In the Georgetown-Richmond women's game Friday, freshman Shayla Cooper lost her shoe early in the second half and tried to block a Spiders' 3-pointer by throwing her sneaker at the ball. She missed and so did the officials, who didn't call a foul on the play. Or even a "soletending" violation.

"Picking up a shoe and throwing it is not a rule in the rule book," Williamson said laughing. "It's an unsporting act as there's no rule for throwing equipment. It should have been an unsportsmanlike foul."

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