By Ariel Bedford
FAMU’s conditioning was definitely tested against the NCCU Eagles, as the Central pushed the tempo and forced FAMU to play faster than it seemed they wanted to. Early in the game the Rattlers responded well, with transition buckets by Junior Amin Stevens putting FAMU ahead 20-16 with just under 12 minutes into the game. But NCCU battled back, and courtesy of savvy time-outs and a strong game from Junior Ray Willis, a guard from Atlanta’s Westlake High, the Eagles led the Rattlers at halftime 40-33.
In the second half the Eagles trapped the Rattlers from full-court after every made basket, and it stymied FAMU’s offense from getting into a rhythm. NCCU’s D stood out in the half-court as well, with the former Orlando, FL standout Willis blocking Rickards High alum Avery Moore on a lay-up attempt from the right block with just over 13 minutes left in the game with the score 48-40. Dominique Sutton was a factor down low for the Eagles, completing an and-one play from the block that made the score 56-42 with 11 minutes and 7 seconds left in the game. Bad offensive execution, including lazy entry passes into the post and erratic ball movement/shot selection was the demise for the FAMU men’s team; many of their sloppy possessions on O led to fast-break points for the Eagles.
With the loss, the NCCU Eagles are now 5-4 in MEAC play with a .500 overall record of 11 wins and losses. The FAMU Rattlers fall to 6-17 overall with a 4-5 record in Al Lawson Gym.