Coach Clemon Johnson is working with his first full recruiting class, which has become the staple of his ball club, as just three players return from last year's squad. Johnson found some answers in tonight's exhibition. "We were looking for answers. We knew we could score, we knew that we were going to be able to run. The question in my mind was who was going to rebound the basketball, and we out rebounded them. We did a heck of a job outrebounding them. What we have to do is continue to do what we did tonight and get better at it," Johnson said.
FAMU had a balanced scoring attack as they had five Rattlers to score in double figures. Muhammad Abdul-Aleem led the team with 19 points, followed by both Jamari Bradshaw and Jamie Adams with 15 points each. D'Andre Bullard dropped in 14 points, while Rickards High School alum Jakari Bush added 10 to round out the cast of Rattlers in double figures. Walter Davis led FAMU in rebounding with 12, while Bullard dished out a team-high three assists.
Muhammad was excited about being with the Rattlers. "What I really like about this group is that we're level headed. We're humble on and off the court and we're a family unit. We try to come together to build chemistry. Everyday before practice, during practice and after practice we get on each other, and at the same time we encourage each other. We feed each other confidence and positive reinforcement," Muhammad said.
Albany State was led by James Lodman with 17 points, followed by Jerome Hamilton and Trey Gosier with 13 points each. Hamilton also led the Golden Rams in rebounds with seven.
The Golden Rams jumped out to a 5-0 lead as they converted on two Andrew Covin technical fouls and a three-point play by Hamilton with 19:07 to go in the first.
FAMU regained the lead with an 11-0 run, capped off by an Adams layup at the 16:13 mark of the half, giving the Rattlers an 11-5 lead.
A Gosier three-pointer with 7:29 to go in the first period would cut the Rattlers' lead to 24-22, capping an 11-5 run by the Golden Rams. ASU would close out the first half with a 12-5 run as the Rattlers would go into the break with a 40-36 lead .
FAMU would finish the first half shooting 53.8 percent from the field as they connected on 14-of-26 from the field, while Albany State shot 43.8 percent as they tallied 14 baskets in the 32 attempts.
Albany State cut FAMU's lead to 52-48 in the beginning of the second stanza on a Curtis Flucker layup at the 15:05 mark of the second half.
The Rattlers countered the Golden Rams run with a run of their own as they went on an 11-4 run to take a 63-52 lead with 7:49 left in the game, capped off by an Abdul-Aleem layup. FAMU would then extend their lead to 79-54 as Albany State would go almost three minutes before they scored as Lodman connected on pair of free throws with2:53 left in the game, making the score 81-56 in favor of the Rattlers .
The Rattlers closed out the contest, scoring six more points for the 85-63 win. FAMU finished the contest shooting 47.5 percent from the field, while Albany State shot 36.1 percent.
The Rattlers held the rebounding margin over the Golden Rams 51-30. In addition, both teams combined for 53 turnovers as FAMU finished with 26, while Albany State committed 29 turnovers.
Adams, sees the team's cohesiveness to this point as a major plus. "As a team, everybody is buying into the system. Everybody in the locker room cares about one another and that's going to take us a long way," he said.
Overall, Johnson was pleased with the effort he saw from his players. "I called out the wrong player twice myself. We have a collection of individuals. We returned about three players from last year. When we went out to recruit, we went out to get them to run this offense. The first thing we did was go and find individuals who were playing this style of basketball. LAst year we wanted to run like this. The players said they wanted to run, but they didn't run like this. That's the big difference. The chemistry is there, this team has come together so fast," he said.
FAMU will open their regular season play against the University of Houston on Fri., Nov. 9 at the HOF Heinz Pavilion in Houston, Texas with a 12 p.m. tip.