Men edge Jackson State, 88-86

Jalen Speer shoots a jump shot.
Photo Courtesy: Jordan Fitzpatrick

The Florida A&M men’s basketball team pulls off a close win against conference rival Jackson State at the Al Lawson Center. The Tigers were led by senior guard Chase Adams, who had 35 points. This effort wasn’t enough to beat the Rattlers, as senior Keith Lamar had a season-high of 27 points, shooting 11-14 from the field and four for seven from three-point range.

FAMU coach Robert McCullum says it feels really good to come away with this win.

“We beat a really good Jackson State team,” McCullum said. “I said to our players before coming in here that, much like us, they too have been struggling with injuries since the start of the season.”

Early on in the first half, the Tigers got off to a 12-8 start, forcing the Rattlers to call an early timeout. Soon after, the Rattlers picked it back up to take a 15-12 lead following a fast break dunk by junior guard Morrell Schramm.

Midway through the first half, it was hard for both teams to get the lid off the basket, sitting at 17-17, with both teams looking to take early momentum. Late in the first, the Rattlers began a run going up 33-23 following a three from the corner by senior forward Keith Lamar. The Rattlers ended the first half up double digits on the Tigers, 37-27, with Lamar leading the way with nine points, shooting four for five from the field.

Lamar spoke about his mental game plan for coming into this game.

“I just wanted to come out, play with a lot of energy, and be active,” Lamar said. “On Saturday, I really lacked that, so I just wanted to come out and give it my all.”

The Tigers, led by Adams, started the second half off on a seven-to-zero run, with Adams making a three-pointer, cutting the Rattlers lead to 37-34. Adams had a hot first half, scoring 12 points for the Tigers.

The game began to go back and forth, with Adams hitting a corner three and the Rattlers Lamar making two threes back to back, leading the Rattlers to a 45-42 lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Rattlers had a big fast-break charge led by Lamar’s alley-oop to senior forward Ja’Derryus Eatmon midway through the second half.

The Rattlers started pulling away from the Tigers, with Lamar making two pull-up jump shots for the Rattlers to take a 60-51 lead in the second half. Late in the second half, senior forward Shannon Grant had a big and-1 bucket to put the Rattlers up 73-60.

The Tigers had a late run with 34 seconds to go in the game. The Rattlers missed two crucial free throws late in the game. Tigers Adams made a big three-pointer to cut the lead to 84-83 with 25 seconds to go. Lamar made a big free throw to take the Rattlers up three points late. The Tigers turned the ball over in the end, and senior guard Jalen Speer made the two game-deciding free throws for the Rattlers to take home the win.

“There until the end, we did a very great job taking care of the basketball, and we really did a good job on some of their better players,” McCullum said.

The Rattlers will face off against Alabama A&M this Saturday on the road.