Even with senior Yannick Crowder sidelined with an injury, the Florida A&M men’s basketball team would not be denied, as it defeated the Hawks of Maryland Eastern Shore 68-63, Saturday afternoon.
Junior Amin Stevens secured 25 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks, while sophomore Reggie Lewis added 12 points to help the Rattlers (5-15, 3-3) control the lead during the entire game.
The Rattlers’ defense limited the Hawks (4-13, 1-3) to 31 percent shooting from the field, despite losing the rebounding battle by a 50-33 deficit.
Head coach Clemon Johnson said the victory was satisfying.
“We kept fighting and being resilient,” Johnson said. “We knew coming in that we were undersized and we fought for the entire game.”
FAMU began the game scoring eight unanswered points, only to see the Hawks tie the game once during the first half. By halftime, the Rattlers sat on a 26-23 lead.
The Rattlers’ offense continued the pace during the second half, extending their lead to seven on a layup by Lewis with just under nine minutes remaining. The team made 15 of its 26 attempts after halftime and shot 54 percent for the game.
Lewis said that the offense flowed and moved efficiently.
“We just moved the ball and took time off the clock,” Lewis said. “In the end, we were able to make shots.”
The Hawks cut its deficit to as low as one point down the stretch, but the Rattlers countered with consistent offense.
Stevens scored nine of his game-high 25 in the last seven minutes of the game.
The defense stiffened as well, preventing the Hawks from scoring a field goal in the final three minutes of regulation.
Stevens said that the team made a statement in their victory.
“We are letting everyone know that we are here to play,” Stevens said. “We’re going to keep it going and continue proving that we aren’t a twelfth place MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) team that people projected us to be.”
The victory gave FAMU its third out of its last five games. According to Johnson, the reason behind this is the team’s growing confidence.
“The team has maintained its confidence going down the stretch,” he said. “Winning these games helps build character around the team.”
The Rattlers look to continue their winning habits as they conclude their two-game road trip against Delaware State Monday night.