Miami Hurricanes team effort making up for Bruce Brown loss

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 24: Lonnie Walker IV
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 24: Lonnie Walker IV /

The Miami Hurricanes are picking up the slack as a team for the loss of their star player and team leader Bruce Brown. A team effort is what was needed with the loss of the do-everything guard.

The Miami Hurricanes have played two games since Brown was ruled out for six weeks following an injury in practice on January 29. Miami has defeated Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech in the two games since Brown’s injury.

Appearing on the Miami Hurricanes flagship station WQAM a few days after the injury Head Coach Jim Larranaga said that the injury could have occurred in the Hurricanes loss to Florida State on January 27. Larranaga said that the possibility is that Brown was able to play through the pain against the Seminoles and it got worse in practice.

It’s difficult to take anything out of the victory against Pittsburgh. It was a good first game for Miami after Brown’s injury. The Panthers are 0-10 in the ACC with a ten game losing streak. The win on the road at Virginia Tech was huge. It a quadrant one win (wins and games against Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75).

The entire team has stepped it up in the two games without Brown. No one bigger than Anthony Lawrence. He averaged 17.5 points per game and 11.5 rebounds in wins over Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.

He should be a candidate for ACC Player of the Week. Lawrence shot 14-21 from the floor and made three of his four three-point attempts in the victories.

Six different Miami Hurricanes have scored in double figures in each of the games without Brown. Lawrence and Lonnie Walker are the only two that reached double figures in each of the last two games. Walker is averaging 15 points per game without his star backcourt mate. He has been on a tear that predates Brown’s injury.

In the six games that preceded Saturday’s win at Virginia Tech, Walker averaged 18.5 PPG, four rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals. He finished with 14 points, two rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.

Chris Lykes had 13 and Dewan Huell 11 in the win over Pittsburgh. D.J. Vasiljevic had 14 and Ja’Quan Newton 12 in the win at Virginia Tech. More important than picking up Brown’s scoring is replacing his all-around game.

In the two games without Brown, Miami has outrebounded their opponents by 13.5 per game, had 29 assists, held the Hokies and Panthers to 34.6 percent on three-point attempts and 45.1 percent from the floor.

Jim Larranaga has to be happy with the rebounding effort. Miami has to do a better job sharing the ball. Coach L said a few weeks ago their optimum number of assists is 16. The shooting percentages against are also higher than the Hurricanes have allowed this season.

Next: State of the Union: Miami Hurricanes basketball

It usually takes a few games to adjust to losing a player like Brown. Miami has been able to compensate for his loss in scoring and rebounding. The Hurricanes have to find a better way to share the ball and play better defense.