Florida A&M men’s basketball Coach Eugene Harris was delighted with Monday’s two-point nail-biter win over the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s fourth ranked Coppin State Eagles.
“I like the way our guys played, we won’t let teams come into our house and walk away with a win,” Harris said.
The Rattlers started the game with high offensive concentration, shooting 35 percent in the first half.
“We did well offensively, but our main focus going into this game was defense,” Harris said.
The Rattlers were led by sophomore forward Amin Stevens, who had five assists and shot seven of 13 for 16 points. “I was hitting three-pointers; I felt pretty good going into the game,” Stevens said. “I was on fire so I just kept shooting.”
After allowing the Eagles 16 points from turnovers in the second half, the rattlers still managed to come away with a win, with 28 points from the bench and 45 percent shooting from behind the arch.
Sophomore guard Brandon Hosley scored 17 points, 15 of which were behind the three-point line. “I don’t worry about it,” Hosley said. “If it feels good I let it go and I know it’s going in. I have a sense of urgency, where I know I have to make the clutch three-pointer.”
When asked about Hosley’s performance, Harris said it’s important for him to continue shooting well.
“We signed him because we knew he could shoot the basketball,” Harris said. “He capitalized on some open looks and that was extremely important to this basketball game.”
The Eagles shot 30.8 percent from the field in the first half and 46.7 percent in the second, to finish the game at 38.8 percent.
“We knew I had to play with a high defensive intensity,” Stevens said.
With 22 seconds left to and the Rattlers up by three, Coppin State’s junior center Ceslovas Kucinkas was fouled and split the free throws making the score 60-58. After the missed free throw the ball was rebounded by forward, Akeem Ellis (Coppin State). A missed jump-shot caused the Eagles to miss a chance to tie the game.
The team hopes to carry its momentum into its next game against Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The team is in preparation for an upcoming road game against MEAC third ranked Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.