Rattlers dominate in last home game of 2018

FAMU junior guard Rod Melton directing the floor against Fort Valley State on Dec. 7.
 Sydne Vigille | The FAMUAN

It seems like all the Rattlers needed was a little home cooking on Thursday to end a winless seven-game road trip. The Rattlers (2-8) were able to cap off a convincing win against Fort Valley State (2-8) winning 80-58.

The Rattlers came in looking to add to their win column after their last game against DePaul University on Monday losing 50-65.

In the first half of the game against the Wildcats, Florida A&M came out playing aggressive offensively and defensively. Offensively, they were able to push the pace and get shots up which allowed them to shoot 15 threes at 53 percent in the first half. Compared to that of the Wildcats who only shot seven attempts from three at 42 percent  

FAMU guard Rod Melton, who made four threes in the first half, knew ever since warm-ups before the game that the three balls were going to go in for him.

“The first one that I shot I figured it was going in and I feel like the way I warmed up I figured it was going to be a good game,” said Melton.

With the Wildcats using mostly a zone defense all game, FAMU head coach Robert McCollum and the rest of the team knew it was important to shoot the three ball and push the pace offensively.

“Well we shot the ball a little bit better from beyond the arc, and when you play against teams who zone as much as they zoned tonight, you gotta step up and make threes,” McCollum said post-game. “You don't want to rely solely on threes, but you gotta be able to make a three-point shot. It’s changed the game.”

Heading into the second half, however, the pace for the team slowed down in part due to the team going with more size in the frontcourt. This led to a decrease in three-point attempts from 15 in the first half to 13 in the second half and led to FAMU’s three-point percentage dropping from 53 in the first half to 23 in the second.

Even though FAMU had pretty good scoring all around, the play of guards Justin Ravenel and Melton stood out. The two combined for 36 points with Ravenel scoring a team high of 20 and Melton adding in 16.

Ravenel spoke on how the two can possibly be a one-two punch that can help the Rattlers contend further into the season and how it can set the tone for the team’s overall play.

“I feel like it can really hurt teams because you know it wasn’t one of our greatest defensive nights,” said Ravenel. “But we're going to hang our hats on defense, so when we get early offense like we did today and we mix it in the way we want to play initially, we’re definitely going to be a much better basketball team.

“I really believe with Rod making shots like that, getting us off to a great start on the defensive end, that’s definitely going to help us out. If we build on it more and more, guys are going to continue to figure out how to get in the mix of that, get easy points in transition, get steals, get out and run once we get to that level of basketball we’ll be a pretty good basketball team.”

Fort Valley State head coach Mark Sherrill after the game spoke on what he thought FAMU did well to win the game.

“They played FAMU basketball. They executed, they did the things they need to do they looked for shooters and they looked inside and outside and I thought they played much more together as a team than what we displayed tonight.”

After Thursday’s win, the Rattlers will go on the road once again to take on Georgia Tech Sunday at 9 p.m.