One look at the final score and one might think the Rattlers got a breath of fresh air outside of the MEAC.
According to Head Coach Mike Gillespie, the team’s performance in a 92-68 blowout over Savannah State Wednesday night was anything but that.
“I was very disappointed in the way we played tonight,” Gillespie said. “We play one of the better teams in the MEAC like this and we’re walking away right now with a loss.”
The problems Gillespie saw in a game that matched the Rattlers with a team yet to win a game on the season included let-downs in the free throw, offensive execution, defensive pressure and leadership fields.
“I am extremely disappointed in the way our guys approached the game tonight, especially the upperclassmen,” Gillespie said. “Those are the guys that need to go out there and lead the team, and they did not.”
From the looks of the game in the early going, the Rattlers appeared to have themselves situated in a position to run through Savannah State with flying colors. Forward Darius Glover got off to a good start with six quick points to give FAMU an 11-5 lead. But at the 11:16 mark in the first half behind the hustling play of Savannah State, the Rattlers found themselves down 16-15 after two free throws from Tiger forward Donald Larson.
A team coming into Gaither with a 0-24 record.
“We had six players in double figures and out-rebounded them and everybody thinks great game. No,” Gillespie said. “The way we approached this game mentally was a travesty. It all comes back to our leaders.”
“Great teams have great leaders. And we’re still looking for that great leader.”
Glover grabbed eight rebounds and scored 26 points to lead the Rattlers in a victory that somehow left a sour taste in their mouths.
“I have to come play every game and not take a night off,” Glover said. “The coaches told me if I don’t play hard every game, we’re not going to win. So I have to come ready to play and play hard.”
The score remained close in the first half, but FAMU capitalized on Savannah State’s mistakes in the second half to pull away for good, despite struggling from the free throw line.
FAMU will jump back into MEAC contention tomorrow afternoon against Norfolk State at 4 p.m. Norfolk State, currently fourth in the MEAC, is coming off a 54-39 loss to Coppin State in which Norfolk scored the third lowest point total in school history.
On the other hand, FAMU, with a 5-5 conference record, has the chance to go above .500 in conference play with a win.
“It’s game time to tell the truth,” guard Tony Tate said. “If we come out and take them lightly like we did (Savannah State) tonight, we’re going to find ourselves down.”
“We don’t want to be down.
“Now it’s the Charles Darwin theory, survival of the fittest right now,” Gillespie said. “And by god we better be ready to battle because we’re at home and we need to defend our home court. If we have any aspirations of being a champion and playing like a champion, wE have to do it this weekend.”
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