Jason Merry, Correspondent (@JasonMerryFS on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Saturday night at the Al Lawson Center the Florida A&M Rattlers men’s basketball team took on the North Carolina Central Eagles in a late-season Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup. Scoring outburst from Desmond Williams and Marcus Barham in the second half helped lead the Rattlers to a 65-56 win over the Eagles.
The Rattlers led at the end of the first half 28-25 despite being out-rebounded by 11, finishing with 14 compared to the Eagles’ 25. Senior small forward Desmond Williams led the Rattlers in the first half grabbing six. The Eagles’ top rebounder in the first half was 7-foot junior center Raasean Davis, with 10 rebounds, three of which came on the offensive glass.
The second half was more of the same as the final total of rebounds for the Rattlers was 31. The Eagles out-rebounded the Rattlers by 16 grabbing 41 boards, 21 on the offensive glass.
“We took good care of the basketball. We turned it over only eight times and they had 15 turnovers,” FAMU head coach Robert McCullum said. “Their 15 turnovers sort of negated their big advantage that they had on the boards.”
Williams, the Rattler’s leading scorer, struggled in the first half shooting 2-7 with only five points. He also committed three turnovers and was given a technical foul for hanging on the rim. During the second half, Williams had 16 points on 6-10 shooting and shot 4-4 from the free throw line. He also cut his turnovers down from three in the first half to only one in the second. Barham added 20 points in the game.
“At halftime, I always reset. It’s a new game when the second half starts,” Williams said. “I’ve had a bad game and my coaches still call plays for me after my bad first half. It helps my confidence and it shows that if I’m down on myself, my teammates and coaching staff still believe in me.”
This win improves the Rattlers’ overall record to 5-22 and their conference record to 4-7. The Eagles’ overall record sits at 12-12 and 6-4 in conference play.
Shooting percentage in the first half told the story as the Rattlers shot 41.7 percent, 44.4 percent from three. The Eagles shot 32.4 percent from the field on 11-34 shooting, and 18.2 percent from three on 2-11 from behind the arc.
Of the 11 field goals made in the first half by the Eagles, five were made by Davis as he shot 5-10 from the floor giving him a double-double with 10 points.
The second half was more of the same as the Rattlers shot 42.9 percent from the floor and the Eagles shot 35.3 percent.
Williams was playing on an ankle that he hurt against Norfolk State. He could be seen wincing and limping throughout the game. Every time he went to the bench trainers would stretch the ankle
“It makes us all work harder. It makes us pull a little more extra weight because we know he was hurt,” Barham said.