CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Highly touted freshman Lonnie Walker IV twisted his left ankle Thursday night, and coach Jim Larranaga was sore himself after the latest lopsided win by the 11th-ranked Miami Hurricanes.
Larranaga said Walker wasn’t seriously hurt, and the coach seemed more concerned about his team’s effort and focus in a 90-59 victory over Florida A&M.
”I didn’t think we were very good from start to finish,” Larranaga said. ”We need to play a whole lot harder, and better defensively. We looked sluggish. I told the team I was extremely disappointed in our effort.”
Walker was assisted to the locker room in the first half after stepping on another player. The Hurricanes are scheduled to play La Salle next Wednesday in Walker’s hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania.
”We won’t know for a couple of days, but I think he’s fine,” Larranaga said.
Is he likely to play in the next game?
”Oh, he’s going to play in Reading,” Larranaga said.
Miami (3-0) has outscored opponents by an average of 32 points, while A&M (0-3) has been outscored by an average of 30. But Larranaga thought his team wasn’t dominant enough, and was especially annoyed the Hurricanes went 10 for 22 at the free throw line.
”Our free throw shooting has been atrocious,” Larranaga said.
Sophomore Bruce Brown had 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Hurricanes, who shot 59 percent and had six players in double figures.
”We’re talented,” Brown said. ”We’ve just got to clean up some things, and we could be a really good team.”
Walker, widely projected as a potential NBA first-round draft pick next year, had five points in 10 minutes. D.J. Vasiljevic and Ja’Quan Newton had 15 points each, and freshman Chris Lykes scored 13 in 21 minutes.
Marcus Barham scored 22 points for the Rattlers.
”We were overwhelmed, obviously,” A&M coach Robert McCullum said. ”They’re a very good team. When you think how young they are – that’s the part that’s really impressive and really scary.”
The Hurricanes scored 11 consecutive points in the first half to take charge, and consecutive 3-pointers by Walker, Vasiljevic and Anthony Lawrence put them up 30-13. It was 46-24 at halftime.
Vasiljevic went 3 for 6 on 3-pointers. He went 1 for 10 from behind the arc in the opener and is 7 for 14 since.
Miami is shooting 51 percent from the free throw line this season.
”We’re going to try to figure out a way to correct that,” Larranaga said. ”On Saturday we’re going to run them for every miss. It’s a lack of maturity on our part. It’s about mental focus.”
The Rattlers had 19 turnovers, increasing their total for the season to 57.
When the Hurricanes courted Walker, Larranaga told the prep prospect they would schedule a game in his hometown if he opted for Miami. The Hurricanes will be the home team against La Salle, and Larranaga expects a lively atmosphere.
”I think it’ll be electric from start to finish,” the coach said. ”Lonnie is like a celebrity in the town. Everybody knows him.”
Florida A&M plays its fourth consecutive road game to start the season Saturday at Mississippi State.
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