FAMU loses heartbreaker in first round

The Florida A&M University Men’s Basketball team lost in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament on Tuesday night.

The University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks outlasted the Rattlers 87-85 in the double overtime contest.

FAMU head coach Eugene Harris said, “We had our chances, but we didn’t make good of these chances.”

The Rattlers were leading 74-71 with 39 seconds left in the first overtime period. Larry Jackson went to the free throw line to shoot two shots that could have sealed the game, but Jackson missed both.

“It was just one of these things where he practiced everyday…he was just not able to make it tonight,” Harris said.

That opened the door for Hawks’ shooting guard Hillary Haley to knock down a three-pointer with 17 seconds left in the first overtime.

“A good shooter shoots,” Haley said. “Big players make big shots and I want to be considered a big player, so I wanted to make the shot.”

Haley and Hawks’ point guard, Kevin White, shut the door on the Rattlers as they combined for ten of the Hawks 13 points in the second overtime. Haley and White finished the game with 17 and 22 points respectively.

For the Rattlers, it was all Avery Moore, who scored 21 points including a lay-up to tie the game at 66-66 with twelve seconds left in the second half. Hawks players said they contained Moore.

“We stopped him today,” White said. “He’s going home.”

The Rattlers and Hawks both shot 40 percent from the field, with 45 and 44 rebounds respectively. The biggest statistic was free throw shooting, where the Rattlers shot 56 percent compared to the Hawks’ 65 percent from the charity strike.

“I never thought in my life that if we shot 48 free throws that we’d shoot so poorly,” Harris said. “It’s tough to win a basketball games that way.”

The Rattlers shot five for 14 during the two overtime periods, after shooting 22 for 32 during regulation time.

“We missed some costly foul shots that really hurt us and cost us the game,” Harris said.

The Rattler’s leading scorer, Amin Stevens, struggled throughout the night scoring four points compared to his 13.9 points per game season average.

This is the second consecutive two-point overtime loss for the Rattlers. Last Thursday, the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats beat the Rattlers 73-71 in overtime.

Although the Rattlers lost, Harris said he was proud of his team’s performance and believes his team will only get better next year.

“Everybody battled, nobody quit. That’s what I like about this team even though we didn’t win the basketball game,” Harris said. “That’s the reason I know this program is going in the right direction.”