University of Miami coach Jim Larrañaga typically doesn’t dwell on any win or loss for too long. He has been coaching long enough to know that the best approach is to quickly put past games in the rearview mirror and forge ahead to the next challenge.
But he is also honest enough to admit that last Saturday’s double-overtime loss to No.3 Virginia in the team’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener was particularly tough to get over. The Hurricanes rallied from 18 points down to tie the game at the end of regulation, led late in the first overtime but were unable to hang on.
The Hurricanes (10-4) are using that disappointment to motivate them for Saturday’s 4 p.m. home game against Boston College (7-6, 0-2 ACC).
“It was very painful after the game Saturday night; it was painful all day Sunday,” Larrañaga said. “By the time we practiced on Monday, the pain had changed to anger. I was angry, not at our players, not my coaches or myself; just angry we lost.
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“I wanted to use that angriness to fuel myself and my team so that our team understood we played a terrific second half, outscored them 43-25, but it wasn’t enough to win. We had a golden opportunity to win in OT and didn’t. We need to be absolutely focused and ready the next game.”
The Eagles, coming off an overtime loss to Pittsburgh, pose a special challenge for the undersized Hurricanes. Seven players on the Boston College roster are 6-8 or taller, including three 6-11 players and one 7-1 player. Despite having one of the tallest teams in America, the Eagles tend to play with four guards. Larrañaga said he is changing the starting lineup for Saturday’s game.
UM has used the same starters for 13 of its 14 games this season: Angel Rodriguez, Manu Lecomte, Sheldon McClellan, Joe Thomas and Tonye Jekiri. Against Providence, Omar Sherman started instead of Thomas. Larrañaga wouldn’t say who he plans to start against Boston College, but he mentioned that during the Virginia game he liked the combination of Rodriguez, McClellan, Jekiri, DeAndre Burnett and Sherman.
UM’s students return from winter break this weekend, and the Canes hope they show up for the game.
“Last week, with a tremendous crowd, they gave us a lot of help and were able to generate the energy in our guys to come from behind 18 points, tie the game and put it into OT and double OT,” Larrañaga said. “We don’t know what kind of crowd we’ll have. It makes a huge difference … the students in particular. If they’re there, the pep band, music is playing, electricity running through the BUC, that’s what ACC basketball is all about.”
Saturday: UM men vs. Boston College
When/where: 4 p.m.; BankUnited Center.
TV/radio: Sun Sports; WQAM 560, WVUM 90.5 FM.
Records: UM 10-4, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference; BC 7-6, 0-2.
Noteworthy: The Hurricanes are coming off a double-overtime loss to No.3 Virginia, and the Eagles also lost their last game in overtime, 61-60, to Pittsburgh. Boston College lost its ACC opener by 23 points to Duke. … The game will be a homecoming for Eagles senior Eddie Odio, a Columbus High graduate whose father, Cesar, is a former UM assistant coach.