Rattlers solidify second-place spot

The Rattlers (16-12, 10-5) are looking to keep their NCAA tournament dreams alive after defeating the Howard University Bison (9-17, 5-9) 75-85 Monday night.

The Rattlers’ victory allowed them to stay second in the MEAC conference behind the Delaware State University Hornets (15-11, 12-2). With four games left on the Rattlers’ schedule, the team has high hopes to secure a bid in the NCAA tournament.

“If we could get the next three of four games, that could put us in a position to get in the tournament,” said sophomore guard Lamar Twitty, who scored 11 points on four of five shooting in the Rattler victory. “If Delaware State loses a few, then we would be at least one or two in the conference, which would put us over 20 wins,” said Twitty, who connected on three of his four shots from three-point range. “That could give us a 14th of 15th seed.”

The Bison had no answer for a potent Rattler offense that shot more than 60 percent in Monday’s game. Head coach Mike Gillespie Sr. said FAMU’s formidable inside game, which has been a hallmark for the team’s success all season, proved to be the tipping point in the Rattlers’ decisive victory.

“When you get point blanks shots, it’s hard not to shoot a good percentage,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie praised seniors Darius Glover and Rome Sanders for their impressive performances in the post.

“Glove was fantastic tonight,” Gillespie said. “They didn’t have an answer for him or Rome tonight.”

Glover posted 22 points on nine of 13 shooting, while Sanders scored 12 points on five of seven shooting. The duo helped contribute to the team’s 40 points in the paint.

The game was tied 39-39 at the half before the Bison took a five-point lead early in the second half. But the Rattlers would take over down the stretch, eventually taking a 15-point lead with 3:45 left to go in the game.

“We played efficient basketball,” Gillespie said. “If we don’t turn the ball over, we can win a variety of ways.”

The team will take on Delaware State Feb. 24.