Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hornets sting Rattlers in MEAC overtime thriller

Nick Severado grabs a rebound over a Hornet player
By Stacey Ragin
FAMU Sports Information

The Florida A&M Rattler Basketball team (6-17) faced off against the Delaware State Hornets (8-18) in a conference match up, resulting in a 77-80 loss, giving the Hornets their second win in a row in overtime.

It was a battle from the beginning, as the Rattlers fought to get and keep leads on the Hornets, who they defeated 81-68 in Dover barely a week ago.

At the end of the first half, the Rattlers were trailing the Hornets by five points, but Head Coach Byron Samuels remained hopeful of his team’s ability to finish the game.

“We’ve got to make shots. We’ve gotten a lot of good looks, so the execution has been there but the execution is only as good when that ball goes in the basket… We’ve got to just continue to do what we’re doing and we believe the ball will go in the basket eventually,” Samuels said.

Junior forward Desmond Williams, who contributed 15 points, six rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal to the Rattlers’ stat sheet was still able to motivate his team to keep pushing until the shot clock ran out.

“No matter what the score board reads, you have to stay motivated. You have to believe that you can come back from anything,” Williams said.

The whole team was able to push through both the mental and physical limitations of the Hornet’s team, who had a notable height advantage on the FAMU’s lineup before the close overtime loss.

“We…played against a lot of taller teams before, I just try to do what I can down there… Not back down,” junior forward Derrick Dandridge, who led the Rattlers in scoring with 16 points and six rebounds, said.

But with the Rattlers only shooting at 43.8 percent and 29.2 percent from beyond the arch in the second half, the team was not able to finish the way that the raucous home crowd had hoped.

“We had our chances, we just couldn’t warm up offensively,” Samuels said. “We give them a lot of credit and I’ve got nothing but love for our guys… Our guys fought but it just wasn’t enough,” he added.

Regardless of the outcome, Samuels remained confident in his player’s abilities and the choices they made in crunch time on the court.

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