Enthusiastic fans watched Florida A&M University’s men’s basketball team beat out the visiting Hawks from Maryland-Eastern Shore Saturday night. In the opening minutes of the first half the Rattlers scored seven unanswered points and never looked back. The Rattlers took care of the ball and executed their offense with purpose. Going into the half time the Rattlers lead the Hawks 33-26.
“At halftime coach told us to stay aggressive,” said Rattler senior Lamar Twitty. “He wanted us to keep pressuring them on defense and to be confident in our shots when we’re open.”
Twitty and his fellow teammates came out for the second half capitalizing on open looks at the basket and building upon their earlier lead.
Three players for the Rattlers finished in double figures. Lamar Twitty had 18 points, Dale Hughes scored 15 and the distributive point guard Byron Taylor added 11 of his own.
While the Rattlers only shot 40 percent from beyond the three-point line, their shots were timely and effective. The Hawks had trouble responding from their zone defense and were forced to change strategies.
Alexander Popovic and forward Neal Pitt attempted to keep the Hawks in contention. Popovic finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds. His teammate Pitt, contributed with an additional 12 points and 6 rebounds.
Despite a 10-4 run by the Hawks in the games closing minutes, the Rattlers managed to hold onto the lead and knock off the Hawks 78-62.
Saturday’s win puts an end to an eight game losing streak and keeps the Rattler’s hopes of making the MEAC tournament alive. Currently the Rattlers are in 9th place with four games remaining in the regular season.
Afterwards, coach Eugene Harris said he was pleased with the efforts his team displayed, particularly on defense and hopes that Saturday’s success will carry over into their remaining contests.
With the season’s end drawing closer the lights in Gaither began to fade. Lamar Twitty, Monday will be the last time to play a game in the historic gymnasium.
“It will be fun to play in the last game at Gaither,” said Twitty. “I will definitely miss the atmosphere. I’ve been playing here four seasons and I would like to go out with a win.”
Tonight’s game against the Delaware State Rams will be the last in Gaither Gym.