Famu men’s basketball team lost shockingly to Southern University 60-58 at Al-Lawson.
Dimingus Stevens led the team in points with 16. Noah Meren tacked six points, and Jordan Tillmon finished the contest with eight.
Jaylon Bates started the game off with an electrifying dunk! Bates’s dunk brought energy early for the team and fans!
Bates kept going by having half of the Rattlers’ ten points early in the first half.
The Jaguars matched the pace and energy high by coming out in a full-court press.
The Rattlers’ scrappy defense was causing chaos for the Jaguars early, though their defense translated into buckets falling on the other end.
The game was like a track meet. With 13:40 minutes remaining in the game, the Jaguars tuned out the fans and went on an 8-2 run.
Stevens was making his presence felt from the three-point line making two threes early in the first half.
Despite Southerns’ struggles offensively, they were slowly crawling back. With 8:21 remaining in the game, the score was 20-19, Rattlers leading.
Stevens kept his shooting performance up by knocking down another three. But, his three was no match as Southern slowly crawled back into the contest.
The Jaguars returned the favor and caused chaos for the Rattlers offensively late in the first half, making them throw turnovers and shoot shots late in the shot clock.
The Jaguars’ defense helped them go into the half leading 32-30.
Coach McCullem was pleased with the team’s first-half performance.
“I loved our energy, the pace we were playing with,” McCullem said. “Of course, I liked the way we started the second half that has been a challenge all year.”
Starting the second half, it was a slow pace game. Meren came out with the opening bucket.
Being the team’s defensive anchor, Bates followed behind Noah and got a nasty chase-down block to gain some energy for the Rattlers!
His chase-down block was a boost to the team. Creating an 8-0 run and ultimately took the lead in the game, 42-35, with 14:30 remaining in the contest.
Stevens kept lighting it up from behind the arch early in the second half. In the next possession, Bates matched Stevens by hitting another three following Stevens’s three.
The Rattlers were hitting shots from all cylinders extending their run. They stretched the lead with a score of 47-42.
The pace of the game picked up quickly, with Southern slowly inching. The Rattlers remained in control, leading 53-44 with 7:56 remaining.
The momentum slowly but surely started to turn to Southern late in the second half. Southern once again crawled back to make it a game with 5:59 remaining in the second half.
The Jaguars took the lead on a massive 10-0 run, leading 54-53 late with 3:33 left.
Coach McCullem was not pleased with the team’s shot selections down the stretch in the second half.
“I was really disappointed in our shot selections, felt like we were settling for three points, settling for jump shots, and early shots in the shot clock,” McCullem said.
The intensity picked up, and you could feel it throughout the arena. Both teams are hungry to leave Al-Lawson with a win.
Coach McCullem talked about how the team played down the stretch of the game.
“We didn’t do the things down the stretch to give ourselves a chance to win,” said McCullem.
Things started to become tight. With 1:43 remaining, the score was tied, 56-56.
Bates shared his thoughts as the game was coming to a close.
“I felt that we could pull it off with the players we had on the court, I believe in my teammates a lot, but everything doesn’t go as planned,” Bates said.
Southern Guard P.J. Byrd hit a nasty ankle-breaker pull-up jumper on Tillmon to leave Al-Lawson with a victory and FAMU fans in disbelief!
Coach McCullem spoke about his mindset on the last possession of the game.
“Well, we felt like the guys we had in the game were the guys that would give us the best chance,” McCullem said.
Bates poured his thoughts on the game-winning bucket.
“It hurt, it hit reality, but, we are going to keep working and work towards beating Bethune,”
The Famu men’s basketball team travels to Bethune-Cookman in their last game of the season Saturday, March 4th.