By ALEXANDER LOMONACO
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 23) - it was an evening of many highs and lows when the Rattlers hosted Bethune Cookman on Saturday, suffering a tough 67-54 loss.
Being the last home game of the 2018-2019 season, the Lawson Center was at capacity as the Rattlers hosted Basketball Homecoming, featuring a plethora of former Rattler greats who showed up to take in the game.
Most of them were there to celebrate history, as two former Rattlers - Waite Bellamy and Cathy Robinson – had their jersey's retired at halftime, with banners hanging from the rafters of the Lawson Center.
However as history was being remembered, everyone was witness to history being made, as senior guard Justin Ravenel set the all time record of made three pointers with his fourth made three pointer of the game, passing Terrence Woods’ previous mark of 279.
A inspiring moment happened during the next timeout. As the announcment was made acknowledging Ravenel's achievement, the previous record holder, Terrence Woods, went out to midcourt to congratulate Ravenel, and signed the ball that Justin used to break his record with, handing it to him in the team's huddle.
Being the consummate professional that he is, Justin had this to say about how he felt after he hit the shot to put him atop Rattler three point charts: "To me, it was just another basket, I was more focused on getting a stop on defense so we could get back into the game".
The game however would not go in the Rattlers’ favor. The Rattlers seemed to deviate far away from their aggression on the defensive end, that was their trademark all season, allowing Bethune to shoot 47% from the field.
However it was a lack of focus according to head coach Robert McCullum, especially on the offensive end, with the Rattlers commiting twenty turnovers in the game that led to 24 easy points for Bethune-Cookman.
Outside of Ravenel,who led FAMU with 19 points, it was difficult for the Rattlers to find consistent sources of scoring as the the team shot 39% from the field in the game.
For Bethune-Cookman, it was the duo of Malik Maitland at point guard and forward Cletrell Pope that did heavy damage on the scoreboard with both players scoring twenty points apiece. Maitland racked up seven assists on top of his scoring output, and Pope led all players with twelve rebounds.
"We won this weekend before tip off," said coach McCullum.
He of course was refering to the banquet the night before and the growth the program has had in the short two years since he has taken over.
Both seniors Ravenel and Isaiah Martin had kind words for the future of the FAMU basketball program, the next two road games will be their last games as Rattlers as the team has a self-imposed ban from the MEAC Tournament as a result of low APR scores that pre-date the arrival of Coach McCullum.
Despite the loss, there was no shortage of smiles in the post game press conference from coach and the seniors, as there is a lot for them to be proud about and plenty for the Rattlers to look forward to as the program promises to only keep progressing in the right direction.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Rattlers (11-17, 8-6 MEAC) will be in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday to face off against North Carolina A&T at 4:00 p.m. in the Corbett Sports Center.