Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Trey Davis is shooting free throws at a near-record pace for UMass

(Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian)
(Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian)

Trey Davis wasn’t making free throws at a customary rate, and his mother let him know about.

The Massachusetts men’s basketball point guard wasn’t getting to the free throw line often to begin this season, and when he did, he let opportunities slip away. Davis missed at least one free throw in the first three games of the year and endured a stretch of play in December where he attempted just one free throw in four games.

When his mother Melissa visited campus earlier this season, she asked why.

“After a game, she was like, ‘You used to be really good at those, I don’t know what you’re doing,’” Davis said.

“I think she was kind of joking a little bit, but at the same time she was kind of serious. And I kind of got upset. So I really wanted to make all my free throws now.”

Whether it was the tough love from his mother, or his daily routine of attempting 50 free throws before, during and after practice, he’s now seeing the results.

Davis has made 32 straight free throws. His last miss coincidentally came against Rhode Island, which UMass will face Wednesday. Since then he’s been perfect – even when the stakes were high.

The Minutemen have won six games in a row and on two separate occasions during that streak – wins over Fordham and Duquesne – Davis made crucial free throws in the final two minutes of the game to preserve victories. He was a combined 20-for-20 in those games alone, and has become UMass’ go-to option when it needs to ice the opposition.

It’s a role that Davis cherishes.

“Yeah, I go get the ball,” Davis said. “That’s my mindset – go get the ball and make them foul, because I really think I’m going to knock them down.”

He’s even knocking them down at a rate which could break UMass records.

Davis is one free throw shy of former Minutemen guard Chaz Williams’ record of 33 straight free throws against Atlantic 10 opponents. The program’s all-time record for consecutive made free throws is 40, held by Donta Bright.

Davis chalked up his hot stroke to stronger concentration.

“I’ve been looking at the rim a little differently and the back of the rim,” Davis said. “Now that I’ve made a couple, I shoot a lot before the game so I can get my rhythm going.”

Earlier this season, Davis sought ways to get his rhythm going on a more consistent basis. He knew he needed to turn up his aggressiveness and after evaluating his play, Davis made a conscious effort to focus more on getting to the charity stripe.

“I was looking for ways to affect the game,” Davis said. “That’s something I’m always doing. I looked at my stats and stuff and I hadn’t been getting to the free throw line. The coaches said I had to get to the basket more and draw some contact and get us into the bonus.”

Davis’ propensity to earn free points has vaulted his scoring numbers up. He’s now the team’s leading scorer (11.9 points per game) and finished with 26 points against both Fordham and Duquesne.

He’s not without his own quirks – something which is expected from exceptional shooters. He doesn’t turn and look at the bench or into the crowd during foul shots for bad luck, and tries to refrain from bending his knees and using his legs in his free throw stroke.

Nonetheless, he’s turned into UMass’ most reliable option at the free throw line and is close to breaking two program records.

But when asked if he knew what the record was, Davis smiled, shook his head and said he had no intention of finding out. After all, that would be bad luck.

“I don’t,” Davis said with a grin. “I don’t want to know right now.”

Mark Chiarelli can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli.


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