By Ebony Ivey/FAMU Sports Information Intern
NORFOLK, Va. (Mar. 7) - After knocking the Howard Bison out of MEAC tournament, and advancing to the quarterfinals, the FAMU Rattlers (9-25) could not stave off the top seeded Hampton Pirates (19-14) Wednesday evening at Scope Arena, in an exciting 75-71 finish.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get off to the type of start we expected and we’ve come to expect the last five or six games. We won four of five contests coming into tonight’s game. But, true to form our guys rallied and they regained the momentum…before the end of the first half,” head coach Robert McCullum said.
The Rattlers have reached the end of their tournament journey in the quarterfinal round, a place they had not visited since 2014.
The Pirates who dominated the Rattlers in size, dished out quick offensive plays, aggressive drives to the basket and utilized their size on the inside. They out-rebounded the Rattlers 45-36.
FAMU begun the game enduring an 8-0 run by the Pirates in the game’s first four minutes. The Rattlers got down by as many as 18 points in the first half, but clawed their way back into the contest by the end of the first half.
Fueled by 24 points in the second half, with four minutes remaining, senior Desmond Williams who had a game high of 27, brought the team within striking distance of Hampton.
“The second half was a different gear for me zoning in and knowing that I had to do what I had to do to play harder and keep the momentum our way. It was basically a home game for them so I had to see what I could do to help my team,” Williams said.
Marcus Barham contributed 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Justin Ravenel added 12. Elijah Mayes who was a significant contributor for the Rattlers in their previous contest, dropping 27, struggled to complete shots.
Pirate powerhouse Jermaine Marrow, a first-team All-MEAC sophomore, displayed explosive drives in the paint but had only dropped 7 by halftime. Sharp shooter Malique Trent-Street led the team with 22 while Marrow totaled 15 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.
Following the half, the Rattlers fought to decrease their deficit to five.
With 35.9 seconds on the clock, a scoring drive by Mayes left the Rattlers trailing by one, 72-71.
The Pirates answered by icing three free throws to seal the win.
The Jan. 27 meeting between the two teams concluded with a win for FAMU, with an identical 75-71 score.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way our guys fought, the way they competed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough,” McCullum concluded.