The Florida A&M men’s basketball team fell to the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks 67-51. The Rattlers (3-13 overall, 1-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) had to fight from behind the entire game as the Hawks (4-12 overall, 2-1 in the MEAC) jumped out to an early 15-4 run in the beginning of the first half.
“We weren’t taking good shots and we rushed the ball,” Junior guard Rasheem Jenkins said. FAMU missed their first three field goals and two free throw attempts before sophomore forward Yannick Crowder made the first basket for the Rattlers.
Head Coach Eugene Harris felt that the team came out in a rush, and he wanted his team to slow the ball down and play poised. The Rattlers made 29 percent of their field goals in the first half, and they shot a dismal 11 percent from three-point range in the first half.
“If you shoot the ball quickly, more than likely, you’re not going to get the shot,” Harris said. “That’s the trap that our players fell into tonight.”
The Rattlers went into the locker room with a 13-point deficit against the Hawks. The Rattlers were able to keep their turnovers down in the first half, however, there was a major discrepancy in rebounds and the Rattlers struggled to put points on the board as an offense.
“We just couldn’t hit shots, we’re just missing easy shots,” freshman forward Amin Stevens said. “That’s something we’ve got to work on in practice.”
FAMU was out performed in rebounds by the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore 13-24 in the first half. Tough defense and intensity appeared to be allies for the Rattlers as they clawed back into the ball game with a run in the beginning of the second half.
The Rattlers, down 23-37 at the start of the second half, scored 14 unanswered points to cut the lead Hawks’ lead to 34-37. The second half spark by the Rattlers was a result of the full court press that they applied on the Hawks.
In a game that the Rattlers never held the lead, FAMU never got within three points against the Hawks in the second half. It seemed that any time the Rattlers got back into the game, the Hawks would go on a mini-scoring spurt to increase their lead.
Stevens led the Rattlers in scoring with 12 points off of the bench in just 14 minutes of game action. He made three field goals on three attempts in the first half, and he continued to contribute for the Rattlers in the second half.
“They wanted it more than we did,” Stevens said. “They just came out more intense, we just need to come out with more intensity and be more aggressive.”
A loss like this can be devastating for the losing team, and no player likes hearing that they played a good game when the scoreboard says otherwise. For Jenkins, this loss is purely a reflection of his team’s effort, and he thinks that the blame should be placed solely on the players.
“We’ve just got to pick it up, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Jenkins said. “When we lose, we lose as a team.”