The Rattler basketball team will welcome Saturday’s match up against Coppin State College with open arms.
Saturday’s game will be the second of the season between the teams. At their last meeting, Coppin State edged the Rattlers 59-55, so for many of the Rattlers this is more than just a game.
“To me I look at this game as a payback game. When we went up there they viewed it as payback for us eliminating them from the tournament last season,” said Terrence Woods, 21, a senior physical education student from Memphis. “So we just have to come out and play hard Saturday so we can get a win”.
With the Eagles (9-12 overall, 7-3 MEAC) coming to town with only a one-game lead over the Rattlers for second place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standings, a win would loom large for the Rattlers.
“A win would keep us in the hunt for first place and in the hunt for a conference championship. We’ve never won a regular season conference championship,” said head coach Mike Gillespie. “Needless to say it would be a wonderful victory for our guys to sneak away with a victory.”
In the previous meeting, FAMU (7-11 overall, 6-3 MEAC) went into the half down 10 points and was unable to overcome the double-digit deficit in the second half. So the Rattlers understand how important it is to get off to a fast start.
“I believe that it is important for us to get off to a quick start because when we went up there it was a low scoring game so we know we have to rebound and defend well and we’ll be successful,” said Tony Tate, 21, a sophomore criminology student from Jersey City, N.J.
Woods, who’s the MEAC scoring leader with 19.5 points per game, said he will try to erase the memories of scoring just six points in their first game against the Eagles.
“I was held to six points, but it’s a new game and I’m going to play hard and hopefully we’ll win,” Woods said.
If the scoring trend continues as normal, senior guard Demarcus Wilkins will lend Woods a hand in the scoring department. Wilkins, who’s currently averaging 16.4 points and a team high 5.5 rebounds per game, is a solid complement to Woods.
On the other hand, the Eagles will bring its own scoring duo to town in senior center Jimmy Boykin and sophomore forward Nicholas King.
Boykin averages 14 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and is shooting 85 percent from the free-throw line, while King is averaging 11 points and four rebounds a game.
Coach Gillespie said his team has a clear understanding of what it’s going to take to be successful against Coppin State.
“Our shot selection and our ability to rebound the basketball is key Gillespie said. “And if we do that we’ll be OK.”
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