The line in the box score for Miami’s loss to Virginia would seem to indicate somewhat of a revival for Hurricanes’ Angel Rodriguez.
After going just 3-of-17 from the field in Miami’s first two Atlantic Coast Conference games and missing all of his 13 attempts from behind the 3-point arc, the senior point guard was 6-of-13 against the Cavaliers and led the Hurricanes in scoring with 17 points in the 66-58 setback. He was 2-of-6 from 3-point range.
But delving a little deeper, Rodriguez also blew a couple of layups and also missed a couple of free throws, including the first of a one-and-one, that could have turned things more in Miami’s favor. He still has some work to do to get to the level of play the Hurricanes will need when they take on Clemson Saturday (2 p.m. ACC Network stations) as well as on down the line in ACC play.
“Angel’s just got to be Angel,” coach Jim Larranaga said at his weekly briefing the day before the team departed for Greenville, South Carolina, where the Tigers are playing their home games while their home arena, Littlejohn Coliseum, is being renovated. “He’s got to play his game.”
Larranaga’s concerns — though not many; after all, even with the loss to the Cavaliers, the Hurricanes are 13-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play — go beyond Rodriguez.
“My concern right now more is volume of 3s we’re taking, settling for 3-point shots,” he said. “They’re not bad shots, but when you’re not shooting a great percentage from 3, then go inside and make some 2s.”
For the season, the Hurricanes are averaging 20 3-point attempts a game and hitting on 36.5 percent of them.
But in their last three games — all conference outings — they have averaged nearly 24 a game and hit only 15 for 21.1 percent. They were 3-of-25 and 6-of-24 in wins over Syracuse and Florida State, respectively, and 6-of-22 against Virginia.
“We really need to be around 17-18 3-point attempts.” he said.
In non-conference play, they averaged 19 attempts a game from long range.
“So if we become more selective, turn down some of those and drive it and get to the rim, maybe we’ll get fouled a little more, which is really what we need to do,” he said.
In 12 non-conference games, the Hurricanes got to the free-throw line an average of 25 times a game. They have fallen to 22 attempts a game in three league affairs, but more than half their 67 attempts (34) came in the win over Syracuse. They had only 16 free throw attempts against Florida State and only 17 against Virginia.
The game at Clemson is the second of a three-game road stretch for the Hurricanes and promises to be a much stiffer challenge than it might have appeared in December. The Tigers were only 7-5 in non-conference play but have won four in a row, including a win over Duke, since sustaining their annual loss at North Carolina to open ACC play to improve to 11-6 overall.
Miami is on the road again Wednesday at Boston College before getting back home on Jan. 23 to host Wake Forest.