The Florida A&M men’s basketball team (3-15, 1-3 MEAC) lost to Savannah State (8-9, 4-1 MEAC) 69-58 on Saturday in the Al Lawson Center, extending its losing streak to two games.
SSU finished the game shooting 57 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc, while the Rattlers shot a lowly 31 percent from the field and 20 percent from three-point range.
Junior forward Jeremy Dean blamed FAMU’s loss on a lack of intensity during the first half.
“I feel like if we would’ve played the first half like we played the second half we would’ve came out with a great win,” Dean said. “I feel like we came out sluggish for the first 15 min of the first half and finished strong.”
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead, taking advantage of Rattlers’ slow start on offense. With 7:53 remaining in the first half, the Tigers took a 24-13 lead.
The Rattlers surged during the remaining minutes of the first half. With 3:32 remaining, the Rattlers entered an 11-3 run to bring the team within 4 points. FAMU entered halftime trailing Savannah State 30-26.
The Tigers pulled away during the second half, as the Rattlers were uncoordinated defensively. SSU took advantage and padded its score with shots from beyond the arc.
“I think we played well overall, we just got out of sync on defense in the second half and that really threw us off of our groove.” Junior forward Amin Stevens said. “We had momentum coming out of the first half, cutting the lead down to four.
Once we came out of the second half, we started messing up on defense – people in the wrong place and they started hitting a lot of threes.”
Stevens paced the Rattlers with 12 points and 10 rebounds, securing a double-double.
Head coach Clemon Johnson said he felt that his team played with heart.
“Tonight showed us that we are capable of playing with the top teams in this conference, we’re just not ready to win at this moment,” Johnson said. “I love the heart that my guys showed. There have been times in the past when teams pull out like that and we would just give up, but the guys kept fighting. Our scorers just weren’t there tonight; the ball just didn’t fall for them.”
Coach Johnson believes that his team has to improve in every area if they want a chance at winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship.
“If we are looking to win the MEAC championship we have to improve in every area,” Johnson said. “There is nothing we have that we can say this is good, we are not at that point yet. The rebounding was very weak, we gave up too many offensive rebounds, and free throw shooting still was off. The offensive sets were pretty good and we got good looks, but we could not put the ball in the hole.”
Rashad Hassan for the Savannah State Tigers was the game’s leading scorer with 17 points.
FAMU will return to action Monday, hosting South Carolina State in the Al Lawson Center at 7:30 p.m.