The Rattlers got the job done Monday evening at Gaither Gymnasium, winning 83 to 68 over the Winston Salem State University Rams. But they were not completely satisfied with their efforts.
Monday’s game was a good win, but not a great one. That was the sentiment of several members of both teams. “We played very mediocre,” center Rome Sanders said. Sanders was the game’s lead scorer for the Rattlers and last week’s MEAC Player of the Week.
Assistant coach Mike Gillespie Jr. said the team played down to their competition Monday night.
“To play mediocre against mediocre teams is not going to win us a championship,” Gillespie said.
Junior center Akini Adkins said the margin of victory could have been greater.
“We could have beaten that team by 40 (points),” said Adkins, who started his second consecutive game.
Adkins, who has been progressively getting better this season, has infused the Rattlers’ starting lineup with some much needed energy in his last two games.
“He is more confident, and we are going to start him again,” Gillespie said about Adkins’s role in the game.
But while Gillespie was impressed with Adkins’s performance, he was not wowed by the team’s effort overall.
“(It was) a nice win for us, but I thought we could have played better,” Gillespie said. “It was a 15-point victory, but there is a lot of room for improvement.”
With Saturday’s win over Delaware State still in the air, the Rattlers may have been thinking this game was going to be a freebie.
“Our mistakes were more mental than physical,” Gillespie said. One of the Rattlers’ biggest mistakes was blowing a 20-point lead in the first half. Despite their dissatisfaction, the Rattlers dominated in most categories.
The Rattlers doubled the Rams in points in the paint, points off turnovers and as second-chance points. The Rattlers were 29-61 in field goals attempts. The bench scored a combined 26 points, and the lead scorer off the bench was senior Darius Glover with 14 points.
“Darius gave a good performance coming off the bench,” Gillespie said.
The Rams had a tough time against the Rattlers, especially in the second half. “We were afraid to make mistakes in the zone,” said Rams point guard Darius Floyd.
Starting guard Brian Fisher, the second in scoring for the Rams, said, “If we were more relaxed in the second half maybe there could have been a better half.”
The Rams were 40 percent from the field and allowed the Rattlers to make a 25-5 run in the first half and another 11-3 in the second half.
“This is our first year in Division I, so we just try to play harder,” Fisher said. The Rams weren’t the only ones facing a rough second half. Although the Rattlers pulled home a win, Adkins mentioned the finish did not go as smoothly as planned.
“We won but we didn’t play as good as we should have,” Adkins said. “The first half, we were average, but the second half was terrible.”
FAMU gave up 13 turnovers in the second half and 18 in the final.
“I am disappointed with the amount of turnovers we had,” Gillespie said. “There is always room for improvement. The team defense closed out the game with only 2 blocks and mustered up quite a few technical fouls that could have been avoided.
“I don’t think they were focused. I don’t think they were as intense as they were against Delaware State,” Gillespie said.Gillespie said Monday night’s win was a good win but not satisfying. He also mentioned the Rattlers are still learning to work together as a team. “Coach Gillespie Sr. always says ‘it’s not what you do individually. Its what we do as a team,'” Gillespie Jr. said. Gillespie Jr. mentioned that the game’s errors will be enforced in this week’s training. “We will address tonight’s game mistakes in practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.” The men will play Norfolk State University on Feb 3.