FAMU’s men’s basketball team came up short against the Alcorn State University Braves, with a final score of 67-64 at home.
Forward Jaylen Bates was the lead scorer racking up 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Louis-Jeune Hantz also swiped seven rebounds and 13 points.
Guard Byron Smith added to the numbers with 11 points and three rebounds.
The Rattlers showed consistency against their competition in the first half, displaying a dunk by Bates followed by a trio of treys by Hantz, Smith and Jordan Tillmon, putting them in the lead at 19-10 with a little over 11 minutes remaining.
Despite ASU’s efforts to lessen the lead, Florida A&M quickly pulled away for a 33-28 score at the start of the half.
The start of the third quarter saw a duplicate dunk from Bates but was overtaken when the Braves seized a 48-42 advantage. FAMU quickly responded with a 7-0 run, including three-pointers from Hantz and Bates. Both teams fought for points, subsequently rounding off the score at 52-52 with 6:38 to go.
Ultimately, the game’s final seconds were in favor of Alcorn, sealing the win.
Coach McCollum attributed the team’s ability to match a leading team like Alcorn’s stamina to the league’s balance.
“Anybody was capable of beating anybody on any given day,” McCollum said. “I’ve talked over and over about how conference games are so close and competitive. Majority of the games are decided by a couple of possessions, so this one was no different. While we felt good about how we played, this is really kind of what we expected.”
Bates highlighted the fight in everyone but acknowledged where the team went wrong.
“I felt we came out strong with the right mindset playing fast and aggressive down the stretch,” said Bates. “In the second half, we let them go on a little run picking up their momentum, and with a team like that, that’s the last thing you want to happen.”
Bates says spectators will see the same attitude and more momentum when they travel to face their next opponent, the Alabama State Hornets, on Feb. 18.
“We’re definitely going in there trying to build off the great stuff we displayed tonight with a killer mindset trying to get a dub!” he said.