The Florida A&M Rattlers managed to fight their way from a 14 point deficit to pull out a 90-89 overtime win over The Morgan State Bears (15-9) 90-89.
The game came down to a battle in the low-post area Saturday.
The Bears took an early advantage of a FAMU team that was not able to get into the paint and score throughout most of the first half.
In the first half the Rattlers lived from the free throw line, making 11 of 19. They ended the first half scoring only six points in the paint, compared to 16 points in the paint by MSU. Turnovers also plagued the Rattlers as they committed nine in the first half.
The Rattlers also struggled from the field, shooting a paltry 37.5 percent, compared to the Bears’ 53.1 field goal percentage who jumped out to a 47-33 first half lead.
“They were bigger than us inside,” said guard Lamar Twitty, who led all scorers with 28 points.
After MSU led FAMU by 14 points in the first half, FAMU came out with a furious second- half rally. FAMU scored three baskets in a row, cutting the lead to 47-40.
The game was nip and tuck from there on out.
FAMU got back into the game in the paint finishing the game with a total of 28 points in the paint, outscoring MSU 24 points.
Head men’s coach Eugene Harris said the team had an overall better performance in the second half of the game.
“We only had four turnovers the second half,” Harris said. “We played at a good tempo and we took better shots. We also did a better job at the free-throw line the second half.”
Because of turnovers by MSU, FAMU was able to build momentum and cut the lead to 73-78. FAMU pressured the defense and guard Joe Ballard stole the ball and passed it to Twitty, 21, a junior criminal justice student from Fort Lauderdale. His basket cut the lead to 75-78.
Shortly afterward, Twitty was sent to the free-throw line and made both free throws. Another shot converted by FAMU cut the lead to 79-82.
Twitty then tied the game with a three-pointer at 39.4 seconds remaining. The Bears failed to score sending the game into overtime.
The Bears took an early lead, but Rattler Forward Darryl Demps grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled at 13.7 seconds.
He missed the first free throw, leaving the Rattlers’ fate on his final attempt.
“I have to make this,” Demps said was one of his thoughts leading up to the second shot.
“When I missed the first one, I really started praying,” said Demps, 19, a freshman business administration student from Tallahassee. “Coach makes us shoot a lot of free throws in practice – I remembered to step away from the free throw line, gather and relax.”
He made the second free-throw, putting the Rattlers ahead of the game 90-89.
“I felt we practice free-throw shots everyday,” Harris said. “Every time you step to the free-throw line, you got to be aggressive.”