The Hurricanes defeated the Florida A&M Rattlers 90-59 on Thursday night to improve to 3-0. All three wins have been come by 30+ points. In today’s college basketball, where upsets seem more common and teams are constantly trying to avoid the “bad loss” on their resume, consistent wins by large margins could be seen as doing as enough during the early season stretch of non-conference games.
Not for Coach Jim Larranaga, though.
“I’m not going to give them [the players] any reason for playing like they did,” said Larranaga, when asked if the team’s sluggishness at times was due to any lack of respect for the opponent.
The Canes were just 10-for-22 from the free throw line, leaving questions to how so many points were left on the table.
“I would say it’s all mental, because when we do our free throw shooting at the end of practice they all make them.” Coach L believes that simple free-thaw misses are a sign of a bigger problem. “It’s [the free throw misses] a lack of maturity, it’s about mental focus, that’s why they call them free throws, you’ve done it a million times in practice, and then you get there [the game], you miss them, and some of them we missed badly.”
Guard Bruce Brown agrees, “He [Larranaga] thought we could’ve played a lot harder.” Brown himself was just 1-for-4 from the charity stripe, a place he shot over 70 percent from last season. When specifically asked about his struggles at the line, Brown told reporters, “I have no idea.”
“We just got to clear our minds right now and just be prepared to come to practice on Saturday,” said DJ Vasiljevic, known to be a shooting specialist himself.
Free throws are not the only thing that must be corrected moving forward, as the defensive energy was simply not where it needed to be.
“We didn't get back defensively,” said Larranaga. Which led to a big night for FAMU’s Marcus Barham. “The one kid [Barham] he had 22 on the night, he had nine in the first five minutes.” The Rattlers scored 37 points in the second half alone.
“Tonight our energy wasn't on the defensive end,” was all Brown had to say. “We could be really good. There’s times we click, and there’s times we’re sloppy.”
With the win, pretty or not, the Canes improve to 3-0 with their next game against La Salle on Wednesday in Reading, PA, the hometown of star freshman Lonnie Walker.
Is the low free throw percentage a concern?
This poll is closed
Yes, leaving 12 points a game on the board will hurt badly come ACC play
No, it’s mental and will fix itself