Katherine Broomfield, Correspondent (@KatBroomFS on Twitter)
Florida A&M men’s basketball team has continued to struggle offensively this season. Monday night the Rattlers (7-18, 5-7 MEAC) had another disappointing night in the Al Lawson Multi-Purpose Center. FAMU was defeated 72-55 by the Pirates of Hampton University on Senior Night. The loss is the third in a row for the Rattlers.
The only senior on the FAMU men’s team is forward Trey-Cary Warren. In honor of Senior Night, Warren started. Warren put five points on the board for the Rattlers and 2 rebounds, an offensive, and defensive.
FAMU shot 33.9 percent from the field, whereas Hampton shot a little better at 47.2 percent. The Rattlers were heavy on the free-throw line, shooting 71.4 percent. Head coach Byron Samuels said the goal is to get to the free-throw line at least 25 times. Shooting 15-21 from the free-throw line was not enough to secure a win over the two-time defending champions of the MEAC.
“We try to be aggressive, we got there. Our goal every game is to get there at least 25 times and shoot at least 75 percent, so we accomplished that feat,” Samuels said. “The greater issue is we didn’t shoot the ball well from the floor.”
Hampton (11-14, 8-4 MEAC), who stands third in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, did not make the match-up against the Rattlers easy. Freshman guard Jermaine Marrow put up 31 points for the Pirates. The Pirates had 39 rebounds, AJ Astroth and Kalin Fisher had seven each.
“I thought we defended pretty well for the majority of the game, but certainly the Marrow kid gets hot, hits two or three 3s in a row,” Samuels said. “Hampton is a good team, it’s a good basketball program. They’re used to winning, finding ways to win.”
Junior forward Desmond Williams offensively and defensively ran the court. He had 12 points and 8 rebounds for the Rattlers.
The Rattlers are 22-11 against Hampton, and the Pirates have won each of the last five meetings between the two teams. Last season, the Rattlers loss in overtime 71-65. Overall, Hampton has won seven of the last nine games against FAMU, and the Pirates are 7-6 against the Rattlers on the road.
“We just didn’t have it tonight,” Samuels said. “I probably didn’t do my best job getting our guys prepared with the turnaround. We tried to rest, keep our legs fresh. Hats off to Hampton, but I’m hurting for our guys, disappointed. We’ve got to find a way to get some energy and continue to fight.”
This is the last game for the Rattlers at home, and they have two more until the MEAC Tournament in March. FAMU will face South Carolina State on Feb. 25 and rival Bethune-Cookman on March 2.