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January 29, 2013 - Michael Bleach
HOUGHTON — In case you missed it, here is my quick recap of the men's 83-79 overtime win over Lake Superior State Saturday.
There was a bit more to my conversation with Luke after the game — in which the Lakers purposefully put Husky guard Matt Esters on the free throw line with Lake State holding a two-point lead — that I wanted to share with you here.
Me: So wait, let me get this straight, they intentionally fouled Esters on the last possession?
Luke: No comment.
Me: I just want to make sure (cut off)
Luke: No comment.
Me: (Laughs) Hold on. I am not asking your opinion yet, I just want to make sure that I have the facts right. With (Lake State) holding a two-point lead, they purposefully, intentionally, whatever word you want to use, fouled Esters on your last possession to put him on the free throw line?
Luke: You can see why I am not commenting.
Later, when talking with Kim Cameron about her game, I asked her if she saw the bizarre ending to the men's regulation.
Cameron: Yes I did ... (pause) ... am I still on record here?
Without speculating exactly why Lake State coach Steve Hettinga chose to foul Esters — it could be that he was just that scared of Ali Haidar or Tech's three-point shooters — here are a few facts to digest on Esters.
— Coming in to the game, Esters had shot 59 percent from the free throw line on the season.
— That 59 percent came on 20 total attempts.
— Cue the Sample Size Trumpet blown by sabermetric guys in every sport.
— Man I wish I had an actual Sample Size Trumpet. Maybe there is app for that.
— Over his four years Esters ranks as a 71.5 percent free throw shooter on 137 attempts.
— Even if Esters were to miss a free throw, the Lakers would still have to deal with five Huskies frantically crashing the offensive glass, including Ali Haidar (two offensive boards per game) hellbent on getting the ball back.
— That was a curious, curious decision made by Hettinga.
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