ORANGEBURG, S.C. (Feb. 18) – Monday’s FAMU Men’s Basketball game at South Carolina State was a game of two halves, and it was the second half of play which led to the Rattlers demise in bitter fashion, 57-54 at the Smith-Hammond Memorial Center.
The Rattlers (11-17, 8-5 MEAC), shot a blistering 60 percent in the first half (14 of 23) and hit three of their five shots from distance to forge a 33-24 halftime lead over the Bulldogs, which fell victim early to FAMU’s Justin Ravenel, who hit three of his four triples in the opening stanza.
South Carolina State (6-21, 4-7 MEAC), kept in contention with their free throw shooting, especially in the second half, when they went 11 of 12 from the charity line to finish 21 of 27. They also shot 42 percent to FAMU’s 34 percent in the second half from the floor, which allowed them to overtake the Rattlers in the waning minutes.
FAMU led most of the second half, but turnovers, sub par shooting (34 percent) and foul trouble took its toll, as seven players had three or more fouls, four with four or more, with one foul out (Nasir Core).
The Bulldogs twice tied the game, taking a 51-49 lead on an Ozante Fields layup with 3:21 left.
Ravenel splashed the Rattlers’ lone triple of the second half with 3:04 left to put them back in front, 52-51. Isaiah Martin’s slam dunk with 2:23 left extended FAMU to a 54-51 edge.
But back to back buckets by Janai Raynor-Powell, gave the Bulldogs the lead, 55-54, with his second bucket coming with 50 seconds left.
SCSU pushed their edge to 57-54 on a pair of foul shots by Ian Kinard with 13 seconds left, but the last Rattler hope was dashed on a Ravenel turnover with one second left.
Ravenel and Martin each finished with a team high 14 points. Martin added five rebounds and four blocked shots, while Ravenel splashed all four of the Rattlers’ three-pointers Monday, boosting his career total to 276, three (3) shy of the FAMU career record of 279, set by Terrence Woods in 2002-04.
Tracy Hector added eight points, six rebounds and four assists, while MJ Randolph and Core each finished with six points.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Rattlers will host rival Bethune-Cookman Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in the Al Lawson Center.