Tallahassee, FL - The Florida A&M Rattlers (6-19, 3-7 MEAC) started off the game with dismal shooting, but caught fire in the second half against 2011-2012 MEAC regular season basketball champion Savannah State (13-10, 8-2), but couldn't quite make up all of the lost ground in a 67-65 loss to the Tigers here today at the Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium.
"What we did at halftime was look for five or six players that wanted to lay it all on the line for 20 minutes. We found those guys and the whole game changed. Unfortunately, we had dug ourselves in such a steep hole against a good team, that we weren't able to catch up," head coach Clemon Johnson said.
In the first half, the Rattlers started off sluggish, while the Tigers put together a solid offensive and defensive performance. Senior Markee Teal led the Rattlers in scoring with eight first half points. Trey Kellum would be the Rattlers' next highest scorer with three points. Teal and Muhammad Abdul-Aleem grabbed three boards each to pace the Rattlers in the half. The Rattlers committed nine turnovers in the half.
The story of the half was the dismal shooting. FAMU managed just 9-of-29 shooting for 31 percent from the field. They were 0-for-3 from the three-point arc and 75 percent from the three-point line.
The Tigers were led by Preston Blackmon who was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, including perfect on two shots from three point range to end the half with 10 points. Rashad Hassan went 3-for-5 for six points in the half. Hassan would also pick up six rebounds in the first period.
In the second half, FAMU guard Jamie Adams would find his stroke, scoring 16 points in the second half, to end with 18 total. Reggie Lewis also found his rhythm, pumping in 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Teal would end the game with 10 points, but his defensive energy powered the Rattlers' comeback as he had two timely blocked shots to derail the Tigers. Teal would complete the double-double with 11 rebounds to accompany his 10 points.
The Rattlers scored 44 second half points, the most out of either team. The defensive intensity of FAMU led to 20 turnovers by the Tigers, leading to 17 points. The Achilles heel for the Rattlers was bench scoring. SSU's benh outscored the Rattlers 35-21, which was a 14 point margin. There were three lead changes and one tie in the game.
For the game, SSU shot 47.8 percent from the field, while FAMU shot 45.6 percent, which was powered by a 60.7 percent second half. The Rattlers struggled from the line throughout the game, shooting 58.8 percent to 61.5 percent for SSU.
The Rattlers will return to action on Sat., Feb.16, as they face the Bison of Howard University in a 6 p.m. tipoff at the Al Lawson Center, immediately following the Lady Rattlers and Lady Bison who tipoff t 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the radio on WANM-90.5 and Webcast on Rattler Vision , exclusively at www.FAMUAthletics.com.