Rattlers boost confidence after conference win

The Rattlers men’s basketball team defeated the North Carolina A&T Aggies (5-9, 1-1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) Saturday night in the first conference home game of the season 70-66.  With the victory, the Rattlers have a 3-11 record overall and a 1-1 record in conference play.

Florida A&M started the game with a 10-0 run and the Aggies never held the lead.  The Rattlers got off to a very strong start and they felt that applying pressure would be a key to victory.

“We tried to keep the intensity up for both halves and we kept on working hard,” junior guard Rasheem Jenkins said.  “We just stuck to our game plan, played man-to-man defense, and got stops.”

Senior guard Brandon Bryant scored a game-high 19 points for the Rattlers.  Junior forward Larry Jackson and sophomore forward Yannick Crowder also made major contributions, scoring 14 and 13 points respectively. 

“You can tell by the way the team came out that our attitude is different,” Jackson said.     “This is our second season.” 

The Rattlers played some tough opponents in the beginning of the year, but the team hopes tohave gained something by playing a hard schedule early.

“Our record doesn’t justify our team,” Jackson said.  “We have a very tough schedule and we had a lot of injuries in the beginning of the season.”

FAMU has an entirely different outlook on their season after the victory on Saturday.  The Rattlers have an idea of what they need to do to keep winning, and they understand the significance of the games remaining this season. 

“It’s MEAC time,” Crowder said.  “We had a somewhat disappointing season last year and this year it’s a whole new team.  All it takes is defense and hustle.  It makes the game a whole lot easier.”

The Rattlers hope to benefit from their upcoming schedule.  The team opened the season with 10 straight losses, including one to conference opponent Bethune-Cookman University. 

Rebounding from that dismaying streak has been a strong focus, and the Rattlers are now winners of three of their past four games.

The Rattlers will look to carry the momentum from the win to tonight when they play the Norfolk State Spartans tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the AL Lawson Center.  Florida A&M plans to keep applying pressure and playing with intensity in the game against the Spartans.

“Norfolk is a different team, but we’ve got to keep our intensity up, they have scorers just like A&T,” Jenkins said.