Farrakhan Finds His Way

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Senior Mustapha Farrakhan found his 3-point rhythm against Howard.

There are times in sports where a glance at the statistics can be wrapped in deception – where all those numbers don’t give the most accurate insight into a team.

But the statistics clearly tell the story of Virginia basketball. Shoot over 44% and win; shoot under that number and lose. The Hoos are 7-0 this season when eclipsing the 44% plateau and only 3-5 (37.5%) when falling below that number.

With lingering injuries to Will Sherrill and Mike Scott, much of the offensive load has been dumped into the lap of Mustapha Farrakhan . Not surprisingly, UVa’s shooting woes have mirrored Farrakhan’s shooting ups and downs. Five times this season the Cavalier guard has dipped under 29% shooting in a game and four times the Cavaliers lave lost. Conversely, on the 10 occasions Farrakhan has shot more than 38% from the floor, the Cavaliers are 9-1 with the lone loss coming at Stanford.

“I just try and play the game the same way every time and if my shot is there I shoot it and if not, pass the ball,” says Farrakhan about his approach in an interview after the Norfolk State game. “We really do need [Scott and Sherrill] back and when they come back we will be better. It’s harder not being able to get the ball down in the post and get some production but guys like Assane [Sene] do a great job setting screens for me. I just try to take good shots and try to get my teammates open if they come to help on me.”

Sounds like the correct approach but being asked to shoulder the offensive burden is a pretty big load for a player that averaged 6.5 points, two assists, and just less than two rebounds in 21.0 minutes a game last season. This season he is averaging 12.3 points and 29 minutes while starting 11 contests.

“We always need [Mustapha] to play good every night especially not having Mike and Will because we need some scoring,” said Sene. “We need some people that can help us score. He will keep playing hard every night he steps on the court and give us something