Trailing 62-65 to Coppin State (10-12, 8-3) with 12 seconds remaining, the Rattlers had one last chance to tie the game. A drawn up play was set up for FAMU guard Terrence Woods to rub off a screen that would free him up for a three-point attempt. The shot rimmed out, but FAMU guard Demarcus Wilkins, leading the team in rebounding with five a game, came up with an offensive rebound. As he came down, however, he landed out of bounds, turning the ball over with 9 seconds on the clock.
FAMU (7-12, 6-4) was not able to bring the score any closer in the final seconds, losing to Coppin State 62-66. The loss dropped the Rattlers to fourth place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference while Coppin State moved into second place.
“It’s an extremely disappointing loss,” Coach Mike Gillespie said. “We had our opportunities but just couldn’t get it done.”
The first half of the game showed little signs that a Rattler defeat was in the making. Right from the tip-off, Wilkins forced a turnover and converted a fast break layup. Wilkins and FAMU guard Moses White were able to set a defensive tone, helping to force 12 first half Coppin State turnovers.
On the offensive end, the Rattlers were hot from the field, shooting 57 percent including 5-11 from three-point range in the first half. With 10:56 in the half, FAMU forward Michael Harper blocked Coppin State guard Jimmy Boykin’s three-pointer and sprinted up the court. He received a pass from FAMU guard Tony Tate for a two-hand dunk that put the Rattlers ahead 18-15. Harper finished the game with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Woods and Wilkins each scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively to guide the Rattlers to a 38-28 halftime lead.
The second half was a different story.
Coppin State out rebounded the Rattlers 26-14 in the second half which lead to 13 second chance points. FAMU only totaled 28 boards to Coppin State’s 43.
“They were shooting three’s and the rebounds were going long, but we wasn’t getting to them,” Woods said.
“We all gotta box out a lot better,” Harper said. “No excuses.”
The Rattlers’ shooting percentage took a serious blow as well, falling to 29 percent. Woods shot 2-10 in the second half, ending with 20 points.
“We turned the ball over a bit and of course we didn’t rebound well,” Gillespie said. “Our shot selection wasn’t good because we took too many quick shots. When you put all of that together, you can lose games.”
A broken foot limited game time for FAMU forward Michael Ayodele. Woods was not at 100 percent either, suffering from the flu.
“It wore me out during the game, but I’m ok,” Woods said.
The Rattlers will take on Morgan State tonight in Gaither Gymnasium at 7:30.
Contact LeMont Calloway at email@example.com