The Rattlers basketball team ended its regular season with a loss to the Morgan State Bears 74-68 Thursday night at the Al Lawson Center. The Rattlers fell to 6-10 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and 8-22 on the season.
Because it was Church & Community Day at the arena, the crowd appeared energized. Unfortunately, the energy did not make it past the stands. The Rattlers started slowly and entered halftime at a 48-35 deficit.
Aric Brooks and Amin Stevens were the top scorers for their respective teams during the first half. Brooks scored 10 points for the Bears, while Stevens tallied 13 for the Rattlers. FAMU shot only 41 percent from the field to the Bears’ 68 percent.
“When you are able to put the ball in the hole, the defense will pick up,” said Head coach Clemon Johnson. “We were not able to put the ball in the hole so the defense slacked up and they shot the ball extremely well.”
The second half started just how the first half ended, as the Rattlers continued to be outperformed and found themselves down by 16 points early.
But the Rattlers continued to fight despite the deficit, as a Reggie Lewis technical foul with less than five minutes remaining in the game gave the Rattlers a spark. They were able to cut the lead to four with 28 seconds left in the game.
Lewis said he wanted to let the Bears know that the Rattlers would not tolerate excessive trash talking or disrespect.
“I just wanted to let them know we weren’t gone be ran over,” said Lewis.
The Rattlers could not close the gap any further, and the Bears cruised for the victory.
Forward Amin Stevens was a highlight for FAMU, as he scored a career-high 32 points. Stevens was 11-of-19 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free-throw line.
The Rattlers now turn their attention toward to the MEAC Basketball Tournament on Monday in Winston Salem, N.C. Johnson said his team has the potential to advance in the tournament as long as they play well.
“I told my team if you give me the last 10 minutes of this game, we can win some ball games in this tournament,” Johnson said. “If you give me the beginning of this game we gone pack our bags up and come home early.”
The Rattlers will open the tournament against Coppin State at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.