The Rattlers flexed their prowess Monday in a 32-point (88-56) massacre of Morris Brown.
FAMU’s superior strength in the paint was spearheaded by senior center Jermaine Hill, who recorded career highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds.
“That guy is as good as they get,” said head coach Mike Gillespie.
“There is not a better ‘five’ man in the league.”
The Rattlers scored half of their 88 points in the paint and were all over the glass, pulling down 10 more rebounds than the Wolverines, including 21 offensive rebounds. Still, the great outside play of junior guard Moses White was instrumental in the Rattlers’ win.
“I thought that the difference today was Moses White,” Gillespie said.
“If Moses will play at this level this team could become a championship caliber team.”
White scored 15 points and had four assists. None of those 15 points were more important than the 3-pointer he hit as time expired at the end of the first half to put the Rattlers up 35-26.
White’s 3-pointer capped a 9-0 Rattler run, which began with a post move by Hill resulting in a three-point play with two minutes 17 seconds remaining in the half. Before Hill scored, the game was tied for the fifth and last time at 26.
“It (the 3-pointer) was a great momentum builder,” White said.
“I just tried to come out and get myself ready to play in the tournament.”
The Rattlers used that momentum to go on a 7-0 run and an 11-0 run, which totally buried the Wolverines who had already fallen behind. FAMU also held the Wolverines scoreless for 5 minutes and 6 seconds in that second half, which highlighted an impressive overall performance on defense.
Only one team (Central Florida, 54, Dec. 5) scored fewer points this season against the Rattlers than the Wolverines did Monday. Morris Brown was held to a 36.7 shooting percentage from the field, a 23.1 shooting percentage from behind the arc and the Rattlers forced the Wolverines to turn the ball over 21 times.
The Wolverines’ leading scorer, senior guard Anthony Adams, missed all ten of his 3-point attempts, but still managed to score 14 points.
“When we walked off the bus we looked, us coaches, and could tell that our guys weren’t ready to play tonight,” said Morris Brown assistant coach Gravelle Craig.
During the second half, the Rattlers extended their lead by playing the aforementioned great defense and because they really focused on getting the ball to Hill, who Gillespie wanted to touch the ball two out of every three possessions.
“We saw that I had the advantage in the first half, so we wanted to go back and abuse that,” Hill said.
Junior guard Terrence Woods met his average of five 3-pointers per game and now has a total of 91 on the season, as he equaled White’s scoring total of 15 points.
The Rattlers received a great spurt from their bench. Freshman guard Jonathan Kelly tied his season high of nine points, senior center Abdelkhadre Cisse added another seven and sophomore forward Michael Ayodele pulled down nine rebounds.
The Rattlers improved to an overall record of 11-9 and Morris Brown dropped to 7-14 on the season after winning six of its last seven games coming into Monday’s match-up.
Their next two games will be on the road against two teams that they’ve beaten earlier in the season, Maryland Eastern Shore and Howard.
Ibram Rogers can be reached at email@example.com.