Transfer sharp-shooting guard Terrence Woods, who is leading the Rattlers in scoring at 20.5 point per game, did not start Tuesday’s game against Bethune Cookman.
However, Woods made a tremendous attempt to finish the game by swishing a baseline three-pointer with 22.6 seconds left. His fourth three tied the game at 69, but it was spoiled by Wildcats’ senior forward Richard Toussaint’s game winning eight-foot shot off the glass.
The Rattlers lost this heartbreacker 71-69.
“That (shot) gave us a chance to pull the game out but we just couldn’t pull it out,” Woods said.
Both teams stormed back from nine point deficits to take a two point lead at the end of each half. Unfortunately for the Rattlers, their comeback ended the first half in which they posted a 37-35 lead on a 10-2 by forcing four turnovers and a shot clock violation on BCC last five possessions.
BCC went on a 10-2 run of their own in the second half, in which Toussant scored seven of his game high 22 points, including a 10-foot jumper to tie the score at 63. He was fouled on the play by Woods.
Toussaint made the free throw and the Wildcats took their first lead of the second half at 64-63 with 5:22 remaining.
Senior center Jermaine Hill answered Toussaint’s free throw with one of his own after he was fouled on a post entry pass and tied the score again at 64.
The two teams exchanged field goals to tie the score at 66, before BCC stretched a three-point lead on three free throws (one by junior guard Markey Picard, two by junior forward Diondre Larmond) on successive possessions, which set the stage for Woods’ three point shot.
Those two free throws made up half of Larmond’s four points in that second half after he notched 17 first half points on 7-8 from the field. He then passed the shooting torch over to Toussaint.
On the backs of their two forwards 43 points, the Wildcats shot 50.9 percent from the field in the game.
“You can’t be successful in the game of basketball when you let a team shot 50 percent. It is very difficult to win,” said head coach Mike Gillespie.
The one bright spot for the Rattlers was there post play on offense. Hill (11) combined with junior forward O.J. Sumter (10) for 21 points and 13 rebounds and six of those were offensive.
“They really didn’t have anything down low for us,” Sumter said. “I don’t think nobody in the MEAC can stop us.”
Hill added, “We work good together rebounding wise. I know that if he doesn’t get it, I have a good chance at getting it because he is boxing his man out.”
Most of the 11 offensive rebounds grabbed in the game by the Rattlers were after a missed three pointer.
Five of those misses were by sophomore guard Dominique Jackson, who is second on the team with five three point makes.
The Rattlers did have a solid shooting night though as they shot 46.3 percent from the field with five guys in double figures.
But they attempted 26 three-pointers in the loss, which coach Gillespie thought were way too many.
The Rattlers are now 1-3 overall and this loss was in their first conference game of the season.
They will look to rebound in Gaither Gymnasium on Saturday against Central Florida and then on Monday against Alabama A&M.