Defensive woes sink Rattlers

Katherine Broomfield, Correspondent (@KatBroomFS on Twitter)

Florida A&M’s lack of defense plagued the Rattlers in their 86-79 loss to Maryland-Eastern Shore on Monday in the Al Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center.  The Rattlers inability to stop the Hawks at the three-point line early contributed to nine made shots from beyond the arc.

MDES only made seven three-pointers in the first half, but attempted almost as many outside shots as FAMU had total field goal attempts in the half.

“We had some chances, missed a couple of layups, and certainly didn’t shoot free-throws well again tonight,” FAMU coach Byron Samuels said. “We just couldn’t get out of our own way.”

FAMU switched to man-to-man defensive to slow down the threes in the second half. The Rattlers shot 33.3 percent compared to the Hawks 44.4. In the second half, the percentages were much closer: MDES 45.7 percent and FAMU 45.8 percent.

“When you’re struggling, you got to find a way to make simple plays and make tough plays, but we just didn’t do that enough. Eastern Shore is a good team,” Samuels said. “They exploited some areas where we struggled.”

“We just didn’t play as well as we were capable of playing. It’s frustrating, but we got a lot of basketball left, ten conference games left and we just got to find a way to get it done,” said Samuels.

FAMU made a run late in the second half, two late turnovers halted the comeback bid. 

“I think that when it’s time to step up, we could have helped ourselves early on, starting off a little bit better in the first half,” Justin Ravenel said. “So I knew coming into the second half shots had to go in, and just be aggressive and make sure that every time a shot goes up it goes in every time, but unfortunately all of them don’t go in.”

Desmond Williams, who had spent a lot of efforts on the defensive and offensive end was the Rattlers leading scorer and rebounder.  Williams had a total of 19 points and seven rebounds.

“As we can see, we can come back. We just have to get over that hump. It’s just a matter of continually to play hard every possession., taking no plays off, and listening to each other,” Williams said.

The Hawks leading scorer was Bakari Copeland, with a total of 25 points. The leading rebounder for the team was Derrico Peck, with seven rebounds in total.

The Hawks defeated Bethune-Cookman 82-79 on Saturday. This match up with FAMU sealed a perfect two-game Florida swing.

 

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