Led by six double-figure scorers, No. 11 Miami stormed passed Florida A&M 90-59 on Thursday, Nov. 16.
But despite the score, it was far from a picture perfect night for the Hurricanes. With 2:50 remaining in the first half, the crowd at the Watsco Center dropped to a stunned silence.
UM freshman guard Lonnie Walker IV, a five-star recruit, hobbled to the locker room after twisting his left ankle. He was trailing back on defense after a missed three-pointer and stepped on the foot of a Florida A&M player.
Walker did not return to the game, but the injury did not appear to be too serious.
“I think he’s fine,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. “He twisted his ankle. He stepped on someone’s foot. I’m sure he’ll be ready [for the next game].”
I'm fine y'all 🤘🏾💯 now it's time to focus on COMING HOME!!! 🙏🏾
— Lonnie Walker IV (@lonniewalker_4) November 17, 2017
Although Miami (3-0) led from start to finish, Larrañaga was “disappointed” with his team’s effort.
“We need to play a whole lot harder and better defensively,” Larrañaga said. “We looked sluggish. We let them do some things we planned on stopping. They caught the ball easily in scoring positions.”
The Hurricanes continued to struggle from the free-throw line, shooting just 10-22.
“I would say it’s all mental because when we do our free-throw shooting at the end of practice, they all make them and shoot a high percentage,” Larrañaga said. “I think it’s a lack of maturity on our part. It’s about mental focus. You go to the foul line, and you should be excited. That’s why they call them free throws.”
“Coach emphasizes the unguarded shot, and it’s the easiest shot in the game because, obviously, you are not guarded,” sophomore guard DJ Vasiljevic said. “Everyone just has to work on them.”
Vasiljevic, and guards Bruce Brown and Ja’Quan Newton led Miami with 15 points apiece. Guards Chris Lykes and Anthony Lawrence, and forward Dewan Huell also scored in double digits, scoring 13, 11 and 10 points, respectively.
At 6 feet 5, Brown continues to be one of UM’s best rebounders. He pulled down a game-high eight boards against Florida A&M.
The Canes shot an impressive 59 percent from the field and 46 percent from long range, but the focus remains on improving as the schedule gets more difficult.
“We are talented,” Brown said. “We just have to work on some things, clean up some things, and we can be really good.”
Miami travels for the first time this season to play La Salle at 6 p.m. Nov. 22 in Walker’s hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. Before Walker committed to UM, Larrañaga and the rest of the coaching staff promised to give him an opportunity to play in front of his friends and family.