LAFAYETTE — Two games into the season, Louisiana-Lafayette ranks among the highest-scoring schools in the country at 92.5 points per game.
What makes that number pop even more is that the Cajuns, through Tuesday’s games, were ranked 329th out of 346 schools in 3-point shooting percentage.
“They’re not going in,” coach Bob Marlin said. “It’s a simple game, really. … We had some good looks, but they didn’t go down.”
It’s not for lack of trying — the Cajuns have hoisted 45 shots from downtown in two games — but so far they’ve only connected on nine shots from beyond the arc.
The small sample size doesn’t concern Marlin, though.
“We need all our guys to shoot and to make 3-point shots, and I feel like we will,” Marlin said. “We led the league in 3-point shooting last year, so I’m not concerned about that.”
The Cajuns shot nearly 36 percent from 3-point range last season, which put them in the upper third nationally, and they brought back all of their best shooters from deep.
One of those who hasn’t gotten going yet is shooting guard Hayward Register, who has made just 2-of-10 from deep so far. Register led the team with 62 3-pointers last year and shot nearly 40 percent from 3-point range.
He made one early in the second half against Miami, but Marlin said he felt the team needed to be better defensively, which is not Register’s strong suit.
“We do need him to score, and he’s got to shoot the ball better,” Marlin said. “He’s had a poor first two outings, he’s a better shooter than that.”
The Cajuns’ game against Miami was their first of several against schools from traditional power conferences, and while they weren’t able to come away with what would’ve been a signature win, there are several long-run positives to take away from games against big-name schools.
“One it’s going to help your RPI down the stretch, but they’re going to point out deficient areas that you have,” Marlin said. “They’re going to pick on you, they’re going to scout you … and give you things that you need to work on and improve to be a better basketball team.
“Try to learn and pick out things that you didn’t execute well on and grow from playing the major schools.”
Finding a niche
It’ll take more than two games and an exhibition for the Cajuns to find a rotation that suits their needs with a deep team.
“It’s still coming together,” Marlin said. “It’s hard to play 11 guys consistently, but that’s something we feel like will continue to happen on a game-to-game basis. Different guys will drive the bus on different days, whatever we need in the game plan for that game, whether it’s defense, offense, shooting, etcetera, then we’ll use that at that time.”
Nine players played double-digit minutes for the Cajuns, including three that played more than 15 minutes off the bench.
“Hopefully we’ll settle in, but it could be a while until we narrow it down a little more,” Marlin said.
Houndstooth for old times
Marlin showed up to his Wednesday news conference wearing a Houndstooth blazer, the significance of which he wasn’t sure the assembled media was going to notice.
“I was wondering if someone was going to catch that,” Marlin said.
Houndstooth, of course, is the pattern popularized by famed Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, who late in his career worked the sideline with a Houndstooth fedora on his head.
Marlin was an assistant coach at Alabama in the late 90s, as were his current staff members Neil Hardin and Mike Murphy.
“Since we’re going to the Capstone, I thought it might be appropriate for (Wednesday),” Marlin said, referring to the University of Alabama’s nickname. “It will be exciting to go back, I’ve not been back to campus in a long time. I left in ’98.”