By Maya DuBois/FAMU Sports Information Intern
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Mar. 1) –The Lawson Center was filled with emotion as the Florida A&M University Rattlers (8-23,7-8 MEAC) fell to their rival, the Bethune Cookman University Wildcats (17-13,11-4 MEAC) in an invigorating contest (89-77) on Senior Night for the Rattlers.
The Rattlers had an explosive start against the Wildcats as they managed to take the lead early in the game. However with 12:06 left in the first half, BCU took matters into their own hands.
“I was real pleased with our guys’ effort, but at the end of the day we just didn’t play well enough to win a game,” said FAMU head coach, Robert McCullum.
Scoring seemed to not be a problem for the Rattlers, with the largest lead of the night being 14 points held by the Wildcats, they were able to remain close to B-CU.
Senior guard, Marcus Barham, led the team with 28 points, followed by senior guard, Elijah Mayes who had 25 points.
“It was a tough one for us tonight, but we made strides this year and I’m confident in our team,” said Mayes.
Playing defense against the Wildcats proved to be a difficult task for The Rattlers. The half ended with a score of 43-31 in favor of the Wildcats.
“They scored 8-9 points, they shot 57 percent from the field, they got 26 free throw attempts…so quite frankly there’s not a lot to be happy about defensively,” said McCullum. “We expect to play better, to defend better than we did, so tonight, there’s really nothing to be proud of from a defensive standpoint whatsoever.”
Although, junior forward, Soufiyane Diakite served as the Wildcat’s consistent scorer, leading the team with 27 points; it was junior forward, Isaiah Bailey who stole the show in the second half, scoring 24 points for the team.
With only 43.6 left in the game Bailey threw a lob to Davis giving the Wildcats 89 points to close the game.
“3 years ago I was about to quit basketball and 3 years later I'm a MEAC champ.” Said Bailey.
After falling to the Wildcats by 18 points in January, and losing to them by 12 points on Thursday, the Rattlers have definitely showed much approvement since then.
“I really wanted to win, but I'm feeling good,” said Barham. “I just want to take the momentum we have and use it towards the tournament next week.”
What’s next: FAMU will await the seeding to determine their place on the bracket for the MEAC Basketball Tournament in Norfolk, Va. Next week.