While any of those players would be good option, the king of the Mountaineer free throw shooters at this point is center D'or Fischer. That's right - the WVU shot rejector is also its best option in late game free throw shooting situations. In West Virginia's two wins against George Washington and N.C. State, WVU's man in the middle was perfect down the stretch, and nearly perfect for the entire 80 minutes as the Mountaineers knocked off two ranked foes in the space of just five days.
First, against the Colonials, Fischer drilled four consecutive free throws in the final minute to preserve a narrow lead and give the Mountaineers a big win in front of a home sellout crowd. He missed only one attempt from the line in the contest, hitting 9-10 overall to pace the West Virginia effort.
Apparently, the Wolfpack didn't study that tape, because they resorted to fouling Fischer in the late stages of WVU's win in Raleigh. True to form, the soft-shooting senior drained six straight in just 31 seconds, blunting any hope of a possible miracle finish by the homestanding Pack.
For the season, Fischer has hit 27 of his 30 attempts for a sterling 90% average from the line. That mark is bested only by Kevin Pittsnogle's 90.9% (10-11).
If it's a surprise that Fischer is shooting so well from the line, well, it shouldn't be. WVU's big senior has a feathery shot that caresses the rim rather than clanging against it. Even when the 6-10 Fischer does draw iron, his shot is usually high enough and soft enough to fall through the hoop, rather than bounding away.
With such a gaudy average, one would expect that Fischer has a preset routine with all sorts of keys for knocking down critical tries with the game on the line. However, like many other things witht he happy-go-lucky Fischer, the answer is deceptively simple.
"Just to make sure I make them," says the Mountaineer man in the middle. "Every free throw counts."
Surely that can't be all there is to it, especially in this day and age of poor fundametals and bricks from all distances?
"We practice them every day. We shoot 100 before every game," Fischer explained. "I'm confident I can make them when I go to the line, and coach is confident in me, and my teammates are confident in me."
So confident, in fact, that Beilein leaves Fischer in the game when he knows WVU is going to get fouled. Many teams pull their centers and big men in those situations, but the Mountaineer coaching staff doesn't have to. Being able to leave Fischer in the game is a luxury, because he is then still able to influence the game on the defensive end as well.
Fischer does credit one difference in Division 1 that helps him be a bit more comfortable on the road.
"At my old school, you just came in the day of the game and played," he recalled. "Here, we get to come in and get a feel for the court. We get to shoot around, and are able to get used to it."
When you add in Pittsnogle, WVU likely has the best shooting pair of centers in the nation. Put their numbers together, and they are an awesome 37-41 on the season from the line. If those numbers stay around that mark, the Mountaineers are going to be very difficult to beat if they are ahead in the waning minutes of the game. Can you say "money"?