The men’s basketball team went into Monday night’s match up against Coppin State hoping to remain over .500 and squeaked into their lead of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
They did squeak, like mice quietly into the night, as the Coppin State Eagles won in overtime 74-69.
The Rattlers came out of the locker room fired up. The first half was back and forth until the Rattlers broke the game open to take a 35-27 lead into half time. Behind 12 points from center Jermaine Hill, and suffocating defense, FAMU looked to cruise into the second half, but Coppin State had different plans.
“Our intensity was the key,” said Raheem Scott, the Eagles’ starting guard. “We played lackadaisical, we needed to turn it up and play defense.”
The Eagles did pick it up, cutting into a 13-point deficit with three point shooting and transition defense that kept the Rattlers from going to their strength, Hill.
“We aren’t patient enough,” said coach Mike Gillespie after Coppin State forced overtime with the Rattlers.
FAMU jumped out to an early lead during OT with a jumper by Terrence Woods but a Raheem Scott 3 pointer give Coppin St. a lead that would never subside. When the game clock reached 00:00, Coppin St. had backdoored and handed the rattlers their ninth loss of the season.
Demarcus Wilkins, the 6-foot floor general for the rattlers, credits the rattlers loss to a mental breakdown. “Down the stretch we took to many perimeter shots,” said Wilkins, “we got away from our game.”
The Rattlers will have to shake loose their mental breakdown and focus on the next game at North Carolina A&T on Feb 1. The very next challenge will be back at home against the South Carolina State Bulldogs.