FAMU point guard Tony Tate wrote “I’m going to miss all of the seniors” on his wristband before Monday night’s game against Morgan State.
Monday was senior night for four of Tate’s teammates, but Tate played as if it was his last game in Gaither Gymnasium. Tate torched Morgan State for 34 points, leading the Rattler men’s basketball team to an 82-71 home victory.
The first half for the Rattlers (11-13; 8-7 MEAC) was riddled with sloppy execution and poor shooting. The Rattlers committed seven turnovers and shot a dismal 39 percent from the field, but only found themselves down by a single point at the end of the first half (30-29).
“I thought we played sloppy and we didn’t handle the ball correctly,” said head coach Mike Gillespie. ” We had a lot of break downs defensively, so we challenged them at halftime to step up in the second half.”
Gillespie’s dare worked to perfection. His Rattlers came out on fire on both ends of the court in the second half.
Offensively, the Rattlers lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 53 points and shot 64 percent from the field, going 5-of-7 from 3-point range in the half.
Defensively, FAMU forced 19 Morgan State turnovers, all in the second half. The Bears shot a lackluster 42 percent in the period.
“It was more about us taking care of business and stepping up,” Gillespie said. “They accepted the challenge, and decided they were ready to play in the second half, and they did a wonderful job.”
Morgan State (11-15, 9-7 MEAC) shot 24-of-59 from the field for the game (44 percent) and went 13-of-23 from the free-throw line (56 percent).
The Bears head coach Alfred “Butch” Beard was unhappy with his team’s performance in the second half.
“A&M played much better in the second half and they deserved to win,” Beard said. “The fact is that we didn’t compete and they deserved to win and they won.”
” This was a real big win for us,” said Tate. The win moved the team into a three-way tie with Bethune-Cookman and South Carolina State for sixth-place.
“This win gives us a lot of confidence when we go up to the Carolinas. So, it was really important for us to come in here and get this win tonight.”
Saturday the Rattlers will travel to Greensboro, N.C., to take on the Aggies of North Carolina A&T.
Contact Ryan Boyd at email@example.com