Whether they stood on the foul line or wide open behind the three-point, nothing fell for the Rattlers in the Gaither Gymnasium on Monday.
Even worse, FAMU’s weaknesses were against a South Carolina State team that was undefeated (9-0) in the conference resulting in a tough 69-63 loss before a lively FAMU crowd.
“I thought that we played as hard as we possibly could, but we just couldn’t get the ball into the basket,” said head coach Mike Gillespie.
“We shot 25 percent in the first half and we had great shots in the first half,. down the stretch when we really needed it, we had great looks at the rim and the ball didn’t go in.”
Senior center Jermaine Hill’s great post move for two points, which put the Rattlers up 61-58 with 6:30 remaining, was the Rattlers last field goal of the game. Afterwards, they missed eight straight field goal attempts (seven three-pointers) and four of six free throws.
The Bulldogs didn’t make any field goals either after the three-pointer by sophomore Clary Judge with 6:58 remaining.
They did make 11 of their final 12 free throws — contrary to the Rattlers.
“We make our free throws and this game is over and we are walking out of here with a six point win, instead we are walking out of here with a six point loss,” Gillespie said.
Still, the Rattler defense was stupendous.
The Bulldogs actually shot poorer than the Rattlers from the field, (35 percent to 36.8 percent) and the three-point line (20 percent to 29 percent).
A quartet of Rattler defenders limited Bulldogs’ leading scorer Moses Malone, Jr. to 3-13 shooting and 13 points. Seven of those points came on the foul line in the second half, from questionable foul calls.
“We did everything we wanted to do (on defense),” said junior guard Moses White, who had a game high six assists. “We just couldn’t get the shots to fall tonight.”
Junior guard Terrence Woods had six three-pointers which helped give him a game high of 20 points. During the game, Woods broke the FAMU single season record of 76 three-point field goals made when he drained his 78th of the season in the second half.
And Hill, Woods’ complement down low, scored 16 points. He was later disappointed that he only scored four of those in the first half.
“I think I should have been more aggressive in the first half,” Hill said. “In the second half, I gathered myself, worked harder to get better position down low and I was effective.”
With this loss, the Rattlers are back at .500 overall (9-9) and in the conference (5-5). The Rattlers hope they will leave the .500 plateau by winning their next home game on Saturday against Delaware State.
Ibram Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org