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Barry Jacobs On Free Throw Hotness

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N.C. State had just defeated Maryland 79-74 in the ACC opener for both clubs. Scott Wood came into the game having made 41 straight free throws. Against the Terrapins he tried six, made six.

Wood's 47 free throws in a row were the new school record, with J.J. Redick's ACC mark of 54 straight almost within reach. This information was in the media notes available in the RBC Center press room. So it was a tad amusing when a woman holding a TV camera asked Wood, "Have you missed a free throw yet?"

Presumably this was not a career-encompassing question, but rather more in the manner of what have you done for me lately.

Wood, a young man given to straight answers, played it uncharacteristically coy. Like a pitcher tossing a no-hitter, he took the superstitious route -- the less said, the better. "I don't know," the savvy junior replied with a straight face.

Fast-forward two weeks, and Wood's streak is now at 58, all but 10 made this season. That run is sure to be draw attention on Thursday night when N.C. State visits North Carolina for a match of one-loss ACC teams (The NCAA record is 85 straight free throws made, by Butler’s Darnell Archey from 2001 to 2003.)

Less noted, but no less arresting, is that Wood’s current skein at the line has elevated his career accuracy to .8926. If maintained for the remainder of his time at Raleigh, that efficiency would rank second in ACC history, trailing only Redick’s .9118 from 2003 through 2006 (662-726).

Wood has started 84 of 86 games at N.C. State and played 2523 minutes. Yet he's attempted a mere 121 foul shots, an average of 1.4 per game. In contrast, Redick averaged 5.2 free throws each time he took the court, nearly four times more than Wood, a rather one-dimensional perimeter bombardier.

Still, even with defenses aware of his limitations Wood has converted 41.0 percent of 458 attempts from 3-point range over his career. That puts the Hoosier in the ACC's top 20 since the shot went into effect in 1987. He leads the ACC in 2012 with 45.3 percent accuracy.

After Syracuse successfully hounded Wood in a December win at Raleigh, Orange coach Jim Boeheim called the Wolfpack wing "one of the best shooters I've ever seen - ever, I think."

To give credit where it's due, no ACC returnee has better career accuracy at the line than FSU's Ian Miller - 90.48 percent.

But the sophomore has played a mere 529 minutes in 31 career outings and is 162 made free throws shy of qualifying among the ACC's official career leaders.

Wood may not get into the league record book, either. He's barely halfway to the ACC standard for inclusion, 200 made free throws. He could qualify under another criterion -- 2.5 made per game -- but is well short of that too.

No one else among the best current career foul shooters has hit a sufficiently high percentage to crash the ACC's top 25.

Best Career Free Throw Percentage Among Active Players
(Minimum Two Seasons In ACC, Through Jan. 23, 2012)

Pct. FTM-FTA Player, School Years 2012 FT Pct.
.9048 38-42 Ian Miller, FSU 2 .893 (25-28)
.8926 108-121 Scott Wood, NCS 3 1.000 (48-48)
.8258 237-287 Seth Curry, D 3* .864 (51-59)
.8201 114-139 Okaro White, FSU 2 .808 (42-52)
.8167 343-420 C.J. Harris, WF 3 .803 (94-117)
.8000 176-220 Terrell Stoglin, M 2 .779 (95-122)
.7861 158-201 Andre Young, C 4 .902 (55-61)
.7819 156-197 Erick Green, VT 3 .864 (57-66)
.7809 278-356 Durand Scott, Mi 3 .810 (68-84)
* Includes 2008-09 season at Liberty, where the distance and defense on foul shots were the same as in the ACC.

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