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Butler, Gonzaga have free-throw prodigies

NCAA TOURNAMENT OVERVIEW

March 12, 2007

It's no surprise that Butler is making its sixth NCAA appearance in 11 seasons. The Bulldogs do two things good teams do -- make free throws and take care of the ball.

6 Butler is sixth in the nation in free-throw shooting, making 76.3%, and was best in the country at taking care of the ball, averaging only 9.36 turnovers a game.

2 The main factor on both counts: junior guard A.J. Graves, who ranks second in the country in free-throw shooting percentage at 95.8%.

Even on his poorest of shooting nights, Graves rarely misses a free throw. He is 137 for 143, and has proved that even when he's off from everywhere else he's still nearly automatic from the line.

Against Loyola of Chicago in a Horizon League tournament semifinal, Graves was 0 for 9 from the field -- and 12 of 12 on free throws, including six in the last 53 seconds of overtime.

1 The other dead-eye free-throw shooter in the tournament is Derek Raivio of Gonzaga, who passed Graves for the national lead by making 10 of 10 in the West Coast Conference tournament title game. He's shooting 96.1% -- 146 of 152.

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