Coach L discusses Canes win over FIU
The Hurricanes moved to 3-0 last night with an 86-80 win over crosstown FIU, as Coach Larrañaga's team emerged victorious in a nail-biting contest that tested their mettle to the fullest. Speaking in the aftermath, Coach Larrañaga offered a comprehensive analysis of the game's ebbs and flows, accentuating the importance of perseverance and tactical adaptability.
From the outset, the game was a testament to both teams' relentless efforts. Larrañaga observed, "both teams tonight showed the ability to play really hard from start to finish. There was no letup by either team." This non-stop intensity set the tone for a match where each possession carried immense weight.
Addressing the dramatic shifts in the game, Coach Larrañaga reflected on FIU's remarkable comeback, fueled by a 28 to 3 run between the end of the first half and first few minutes of the second half. "They were hungry," he said, acknowledging FIU's effective use of press and traps.
With Norchad Omier sidelined due to foul trouble, Larrañaga highlighted the minutes of AJ Casey, saying, "AJ Casey was a plus 13 in 8 minutes of playing time... without him, we don't win this game." Freshman big Michael Nwoko also contributed with 13 minutes off the bench in Omier’s absence.
Coach Larrañaga also stressed the importance of learning and adapting to different styles of play. "Every night is really a different challenge," he noted, emphasizing the need to elevate their game to meet these varied challenges. This adaptability was on full display as his team clawed back from a 12-point deficit in the second half.
The game's teaching moments extended beyond tactical adjustments. Larrañaga pointed out that maintaining focus and not getting swayed by the scoreboard is crucial. "You don't play the score; you play the game," he advised, underlining a philosophy that fosters resilience and consistency.
Individual performances didn't escape Larrañaga's analytical eye. He lauded players like Matt Cleveland, remarking on their continuous improvement and impact on the team. The importance of defense-first approach by guard Bensley Joseph was also highlighted, with Larrañaga noting, "you let offense come; you don't focus on the offense."
Finally, Coach Larrañaga shared insights into his non-conference scheduling philosophy, aimed at challenging his team and raising the ACC's profile. "We're challenging ourselves in the non-conference... it's become a major part of the committee's decision in choosing who gets an at-large bid," he explained.