Rattlers need quick start

The FAMU men’s basketball team will try to continue its winning ways on the road against Hampton University Saturday.

With the team beginning a four-game road trip, a win in Hampton against the Pirates would be essential.

“We’ve got to play good, solid basketball for us to be successful against Hampton,” head coach Mike Gillespie said.

“Find a way to scratch and claw, but we have to get a victory someway or somehow.”

Saturday’s contest will be the second of the season between the two teams.

In the first match up on Jan. 10, the Rattlers (8-12 overall, 7-4 MEAC) defeated the Pirates 87-81 in Gaither Gymnasium.

If the first game was any indication of how evenly matched the two teams are, it’s evident to the Rattlers that getting off to a fast start is important.

“A quick start is pretty vital to our team. They have a good team and we must jump on them real fast,” said Demarcus Wilkins, 23, a senior criminal justice student from Newnan, Ga.

“We must try and knock the fight out of them as early as possible.”

In order for the Rattlers to get off to a fast start, the team’s one-two punch in senior guards Terrence Woods and Wilkins must have the hot hands early.

Woods is the MEAC scoring leader with 20 points per game and he’s shooting a conference best of 90 percent from the free-throw line.

Wilkins is currently averaging 15 points per game and he continues to lead his team in rebounding with 4.9 per game.

The Pirates (10-13 overall, 7-5 MEAC), on the other hand, will counter with a scoring tandem of its own in junior forward Devin Green and sophomore guard Jeff Granger.

Green averages 15 points and seven rebounds per game, while Granger is averaging 14 points and three rebounds a game.

It is apparent that the Rattlers believe a victory Saturday will hinge on how its defense plays.

“We must stay within ourselves and play good defense and we got to make our free-throws,” said Moses White, 23, a senior education student from Tallahassee.

“If we can do those things we’ll (be) just fine.”

Contact Ryan Boyd at ryan1boyd04@aol.com.