Miami Coach Jim Larranaga Talks About the Loss to Louisville

Photo: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

Opening statement

“Sheldon said it very well, we played a terrific first half. At halftime, I was told by our trainer that our big guy, 23, Tonye Jekiri, had sustained a concussion when the ball was thrown at his head. They called for the doctors to check on him, we started the second half without him and I think our players’ minds were on Tonye’s health to start the second half. We came out and weren’t very sharp to begin with, and then Tonye came out and our trainer told me that their doctors, I assume the Louisville doctors, had cleared him and that he had a headache or I don’t know what the diagnosis was but they said he could play. Once he got back in there we settled down, we kept the lead for almost the whole game. We fell behind a few times but we basically played out in front for 35 of the 40 minutes. The last couple of plays, we just were not able to finish it. The shot that Angel Rodriguez got I thought was a great shot, he got it right in rhythm, right in transition, and he hits that shot a lot.”

Was he was bothered by the play where Montrezl hit Tonye Jekiri in the head?

“Well, first thing is I was concerned about my player. Second is I’ve played and coached a long time and I’ve never seen a player throw it at someone’s head. They would throw it at his leg, his foot, trying to keep the ball from going out of bounds or something like that. Obviously, he didn’t do that and threw it at Tonye’s head.

Reporter: “So from what you saw, it looked intentional?”

“I saw it. Again, when you’re a player and you go up and you’re going to throw it off of somebody, you naturally…your instinct is to throw it down because if you throw it up, you might actually throw it into his hands. So you’ll have to ask him what was going through his mind. It appeared to me that he was very frustrated at that point in the game and I think he took his frustration out on Tonye.”

Did that play affect Jekiri’s play in the second half?

“It affected him in the sense that he didn’t get to start the second half. He missed the four or five minutes at the beginning.

What changed after Miami led 19-6 early in the game?

“Whenever you play a team in the ACC similar especially to a Louisville, there are always runs. I told my team over and over again there’s going to be times where we’re going to turn it over some. We’re not going to go turnover free. And once they did that, they turned us over to start the second half, it gave them some adrenaline and momentum and our guys didn’t respond to it until Tonye got back in there and settled us down. If you notice, he was part of the press break after that. When we threw it up to him, he got it back to the right guy.

On Chris Jones in the two games against Miami this season

“I think he’s a great point guard. He’s a real triple threat. He’s very good at driving to the basket and making plays, scoring or dishing it to someone. He can take a perimeter three, very good at penetrating, he makes his free throws. The thing he did today is probably the key rebound of the day was that missed shot. We made them miss and Chris Jones just flew in there and out jumped us and got the ball, put the ball back out and gave them a chance to take the lead.”

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