Is it time for Miami Hurricanes Freshman PG Chris Lykes to start?

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 15: Chris Lykes
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 15: Chris Lykes /

Miami Hurricanes Freshman point guard Chris Lykes has been increasingly receiving more playing time over the last few games. His numbers have increased and he has outplayed his more experienced backcourt mates.

Lykes is averaging 8.1 points per game and shooting 39.1 percent on three-point attempts for the 13-4 Miami Hurricanes. Lykes last three games have been his three highest in minutes played this season. He has averaged 26 minutes as Miami has gone 1-2 against Florida State, Clemson and Duke.

The Freshman from Suburban Washington D.C. is averaging 14.7 points per game in the last three games. During that span, he is shooting 61.1 percent from the floor and making 55.6 percent of his three-point attempts.

Lykes is also averaging 1.5 assists over the last three games and one steal. As the point guard, Lykes needs to cut down on his average of two turnovers per game.

Lykes and classmate Lonnie Walker’s increase in playing time recently have cost Senior Ja’Quan Newton and Sophomore Dejan Vasiljevic playing time. Walker was inserted into the starting lineup for Vasiljevic for the Florida State game. Lykes increase in playing time coincided with the lineup change.

Related Story: Miami Hurricanes lineup change: Walker starts for Vasiljevic

Newton who scored in double figures in five of his first six games has seen his scoring average plummet since. Newton has eclipsed double figures only twice in the last 11 games. Lykes has reached double figures four times in the last five games and seven times this season.

Newton and Lykes have nearly identical averages. Newton is shooting a bit better. The Senior from Philadelphia is averaging 8.5 PPG, 2.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Newton is shooting 45.5 percent from the floor but has made just two of his 15 three-point attempts.

For Lykes to get the majority of minutes at point guard he is going to have to improve his assist to turnover ratio. Lykes currently had 26 assists and 27 turnovers. Newton has 48 and 34.

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  • Lykes has been aggressive taking the ball to the basket. He also has good shooting range. As predicted by Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Jim Larranaga he has quickly become a fan favorite.

    Miami has fallen in love with the three-point shot too often this season. The only pure shooter on the team is Vasiljevic. Even he is adept at taking the ball to the basket.

    Lykes, Newton, Bruce Brown and Walker are all more adept at using their athleticism and quickness to penetrate. If they focus more on doing that, it will make good things happen. They will likely either draw fouls, be able to open it up inside for Dewan Huell and Ebuka Izundu or soften the defense and create open shots.

    Part of the problem is that opponents have been playing a lot of zone against Miami. Larranaga mentioned in the post game against Duke that his team has struggled all season against the zone. It’s a much tougher defense to penetrate against.

    Next: For Miami Basketball to Challenge in ACC Brown and Walker need to lead

    At 2-3 in the ACC and a sinking ranking the Miami Hurricanes need to figure out something soon. Lykes into the starting lineup might be the spark they need.