University of Miami basketball coach Jim Larrañaga took the opportunity after Saturday’s 62-55 loss to Syracuse to let the world know his views on gun control in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High massacre.
"I think we have to do something about our gun laws,” Larrañaga said. “We're not the Wild, Wild West where everybody should carry a gun. There needs to be accountability and responsibility for people in charge of selling guns and buying guns."
The Hurricanes and Orange players wore gray t-shirts for warmups that said: “Praying For Stoneman Douglas #MSDSTRONG.”
The UM coaching staff was “crying over what happened,” Larrañaga said, and had the shirts made. “We felt like we needed to send a message to Parkland and those families. We’re all impacted.”
As for the game, both middle-of-the-pack ACC teams sought to boost their resumes in the final stretch of the regular season. In the end, Miami was unable to overcome the Syracuse height advantage and 2-3 zone, resorting to 31 three-point attempts – only seven of which went in.
The Hurricanes missed 15 of their first 20 shots and made only three of their first 15 three-pointers; and yet, the game was tied 25-25 at halftime. Syracuse went on a 15-0 run early in the second half to pull ahead by 12; Miami rallied with a 15-3 streak of its own to tie it up at 43-43 with nine minutes to go.
The game remained close over the next five minutes, but then Tyus Battle, having an off-night by his standards, made a huge three-pointer to give Syracuse a six-point lead.
It was the third loss in a row for Miami, which dropped to 18-7 and 7-7 in the ACC. Syracuse is 18-9 and 7-7 ACC.
Here are 5 Takeaways from the game....
Miami freshmen carried load: Chris Lykes and Lonnie Walker IV say they don’t feel like freshmen anymore. The two celebrated newcomers have become team leaders in a hurry. When Syracuse seemed to be running away with the game after a 15-0 run, a pair of threes by Lykes and Walker closed the gap to six points. Walker’s thunderous dunk cut the lead to five, and Lykes got it down to three with under two minutes to go when he went coast to coast for a driving layup.
“No more characterizing us as freshmen,” Walker said. “No excuses, no `Oh, he made a freshman turnover.’ Chris is an amazing player, I am an amazing player. We’ve got to grow up, and get mature. We’re both 19 years old. It’s a man’s game.”
Lykes had 14 points and four assists, but was 2-of-10 from three and 4-of-16 overall. Walker added 12 points.
Canes struggle with the zone: The Hurricanes have had trouble busting zones all season, and Saturday was no exception.
“We did a great job against the zone in practice, and I felt we were very well-prepared,” Larrañaga said. “The Syracuse zone must be better than our scout team zone. It was very, very hard to score. Even some of the shots we made were challenged. We settled for way too many deep threes. Thirty-one might be alright if they were all good shots, but they were rushed and very deep.”
UM students were AWOL: UM students apparently decided to work on their suntans, because the majority of the student seats were empty. Miami students showed up for last Tuesday’s game against top-ranked Virginia, and for the ESPN game against fifth-ranked Duke in mid-January. Otherwise, they have not done much to add energy to the Watsco Center.
UM didn’t score inside: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said a big key to the win was his team’s ability to keep UM from scoring inside. “Last year, their big guy (Kamari) Murphy killed us inside,” he said. Murphy had 16 points and 10 rebounds against the Orange last season. Other than Dewan Huell, who had seven points and 10 rebounds Saturday, and speedy Lykes, the Canes struggled to penetrate.
Three losses in a row: UM dropped three games in a row for the first time this season, and heads to Notre Dame for a Monday night game. Expect the Irish to play zone.