On senior night, the Rattler seniors set out to have a memorable last home game. The memories made were not the ones they were hoping for.
The South Carolina State Bulldogs beat the Rattlers 65-53 on Monday night at the Al Lawson Center.
“As a senior, you don’t want to lose your final home game, but they wanted it more than us,” senior forward Larry Jackson said. “Of course this is not how I wanted to leave home, but I can walk away with my head held high.”
Pressure defense allowed the Rattlers to score nine points off eight Bulldog turnovers in the first half. The Bulldogs also shot 34.5 percent from the field in the half.
Offensively the ball moved from side to side and the Rattlers were able to knock down open three pointers. The Rattlers shot 5 for 12 from behind the arc and took a 29-25 lead into the half.
The Bulldogs changed the pace of the game by putting two men on freshman guard Avery Moore, allowing him to only score two points in the second half.
The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Rattlers by five. The Bulldogs outscored Rattlers in second chance points and scored 32 points in the paint to the Rattlers 14.
“They were more physical than us,” head coach Eugene Harris said. “They were hitting the boards harder than we were and because they were more physical than us, it took Amin Stevens out of the game.”
Stevens still managed to score 12 points and add 5 rebounds. Moore led the Rattlers in scoring with 19 and shot 5 for 8 from the three-point line.
This is the second consecutive game the Rattlers led going into the second half but were defeated. On Saturday, the North Carolina Central Eagles defeated the Rattlers 58-55.
“I didn’t want the seniors to leave without a final home court win, so I just was confident in my shot and wanted to compete hard for them,” Moore said.
In the second half, the Rattlers had a field goal percentage of 30.8 percent and shot 11.1 percent from the three-point line.
“We were getting open looks, but shots just weren’t falling and that came back to hurt us,” said senior forward Christopher Walker.
Guard Darnell Porter led the South Carolina State in scoring with 18 points and Presano Bell added 10. The bulldog bench contributed 23 points.
This home loss takes the Rattlers record to 12-18 and their standing in the MEAC to sixth. The Rattlers are looking forward to the MEAC Tournament on March 7th. The Rattlers finish with a home record of 10-3 in the Al Lawson Center.