Coming into the game with similar records, Florida A&M University (FAMU) desperately needed a win against the 2-17 Delaware State Hornets.
After a stagnant start from both opponents, it was difficult to predict which team would come out with the victory. After almost ten minutes of play, the score read 14-8 with Delaware state having a slight edge.
The Rattlers most consistent scorers, Desmond Williams and Marcus Barham, coincidentally struggled from the field in the first half collecting a mere total of just eight points combined.
From his first few shot attempts, it was apparent that junior guard, Justin Ravenel, was in for an exceptional night. Ravenel recorded a career high, 30 points, going 11-17 from the field. Head Coach Robert McCullum made a critical decision starting the Lithonia native, and it was a decision he would not regret.
“We had so many contributions from so many different players. We moved Justin into the starting line up for a few games,” stated McCullum.
He continued, “He’s struggled early on in the season. He kept working and tonight he scored 30 big points—eight of fourteen, obviously we needed every one of them.”
McCullum’s statement referenced Ravenel’s extraordinary eight three-pointers, making him just two three-pointers shy of the current record, 10, held by FAMU alumnus Terrence Woods.
Ravenel led all scores at the half, despite a 35-29 Delaware State lead. The Hornets dominated the stat sheet going into the intermission with 23 rebounds compared to the Rattlers 11. They also tallied a better shooting percentage in field goals and three-point field goals made.
The second half sparked an improvement in plays from both the Rattlers and the Hornets. Freshman guard Johnquin “Pinky” Wiley and freshman forward Marquis Collins both did their best to give the Rattlers another loss, but seniors Marcus Barham and Desmond Williams returned to their regular selves as they both combined for 40 points and gave their team the extra boost they needed.
“Sometimes I feel like everybody focuses in on me and Des [Desmond Williams] but when he [Justin Ravenel] starts scoring everything opens up for everybody. It makes everybody have more options,” said Barham.
The half ended in a frenzy! After two clutch free throws from Barham, the scoreboard read 69-66 with just 40 seconds of play remaining. The Hornets star forward Marquis Collins drove through the lane on the ensuing possession resulting in a basket and free throw. This tied the score and subsequently sent the game into overtime.
Both teams scored 11 points in the first overtime which ended with a game-tying tip-in from the Hornets’ Senior forward Artem Tavakalyan. The second overtime period started with the score reading 80-80.
The Rattlers pulled off from Delaware State in the final five minutes of play behind a much-needed six points from Senior forward Desmond Williams. The final score read 94-89 as the clock struck zero.
In allusion to the remainder of the season, Ravenel stated, “We just have to continue to be in the gym. We have to continue to work hard and our team will build off of it.”