After back-to-back wins on the road in Baltimore, the Rattlers came back to Al Lawson to face the North Carolina A&T Aggies. Florida A&M not only ended the Aggies undefeated streak in conference, but defeated them soundly 63-39.
The Rattlers started off extremely hot, going on a 14-0 run to start the first half and holding the Aggies scoreless for the first six minutes of the game. Hardnosed defense has been FAMU’s calling card for the majority of the season and it helped fuel their first half eruption.
“We’ve said it all along…the strength of this team is our defense,” said head coach Robert McCollum after the game. “It’s going to keep us in games and give us a chance to win on those days when we’re not knocking down our shots.
“For the most part, especially when we opened the game, we really didn’t give them open looks “We had some shots to go down early offensively so we jumped out to an early lead and it gave us momentum.”
The Rattlers took that early lead and never looked back thanks to their stout defense and how balanced they were on offense. FAMU saw four players reach double digits on Saturday, including senior center Isaiah Martin who ended the game with 15 rebounds, 12 points and five blocks.
“I’d probably say it’s one of the better games I’ve had throughout my college career,” said Martin “I mean just to have this win going into the locker room, every body’s excited. Going into tomorrow, we’ve got to just keep building on it and go on Monday to play our game.”
The Rattlers want to keep their momentum from Saturday’s win going into their Monday game against the North Carolina Central Eagles. If the Rattlers can keep their streak going against NCCU, they will retain their third place spot in the MEAC and have a chance to rise to no.2 in conference should NC A&T lose their next game.
“Our confidence is real high right now,” said junior forward Tracy Hector who scored 12 in Saturday’s win. “We’ve got to put this behind us because we have another game Monday, so we’ve got to focus on that one.”
“Raasean Davis (from NCCU) is a load, he is really really good,” said McCollum. “It will be the biggest challenge we’ve had in conference play defending a big guy. One of the key things we have to prepare on tomorrow is transition defense, and then trying to contain Davis inside. Those will be the two biggest defensive priorities.”
Monday’s game against the Eagles will be televised on ESPNU at 7pm in the Al Lawson Center.