Expecting solid performances from both sides of the ball, Florida A&M’s men’s basketball team plans to dominate the court as it plays Bethune-Cookman — the team’s archrival.
Both teams compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, which oversees athletic programs at 13 historically black colleges.
Head coach Clemon Johnson and his players said they understand the importance of winning this matchup and what it would mean for their standings in the conference.
“Beating Bethune-Cookman would be right now a signature win for us,” said Johnson. “Beating them would say, [show us], we can compete with the upper-level teams.”
Johnson said the team has won games in the MEAC even when no one expected them to, but that they need to beat a team on a higher level – a level B-CU has achieved.
While Johnson acknowledges their opponent’s recent success, he tells his players that they don’t lose to the Wildcats.
Yannick Crowder, a fourth-year forward from Stone Mountain, Ga., said to prepare for the match, the team is working on defense and the players are making sure their heads are in the game.
“We’re actually going to the gym, getting up extra shots, working on our defense, a little bit more practice, turning the intensity up basically,” said Crowder.
Amin Stevens, 21, a third-year forward from Norcross, Ga., said he also expects a win and that because of home court advantage everyone is prepared to play.
“They’re playing away so they’re going to come and try their best to beat us at our home,” said Stevens. “We’re at the advantage. It’s our home court, so everybody is going to be ready to play and hopefully we can come out with a win.”
Johnson anticipates a big crowd and said that this is one game the student body and the community will attend.
“This win could be a stepping stone to bigger and better things,” said Johnson.
The Rattlers and Wildcats will compete this Saturday, Jan. 28 in the Alfred Lawson Gymnasium.