Rattlers Men's Basketball fall to Dolphins

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The FAMU Men’s Basketball team let a 17-point first half lead slip way as they fell at home to the Jacksonville (Fla.) Dolphins, 75-72 in The Al Lawson Center Saturday evening.

Saturday’s loss was the eighth straight for the Rattler Men (2-9), but the game got off to a rollicking start, with FAMU blowing the doors off shooting 73 percent over the first 10 minutes of the game, cruising to an 11-point lead thanks to a 12-1 run led by sophomore guards Justin Ravenal and K’Ja Johnson.

The sophomore duo from Georgia each hit three-pointers to spark the early run, and with scoring help from Desmond Williams, Marcus Barham and Derrick Dandridge, the Rattlers built a 17-point lead, 41-24 after Ravenal cashed in three free throws with 4:20 left in the half, before the Dolphins made their move before halftime.

Jacksonville (8-4) went on a 14-3 finishing surge to cut the FAMU lead to 44-38 at the half, eventually tying the score at 46-46 with 18:10 left on a Devin Harris layup.

K’Ja Johnson’s three-pointer with 12:33 left capped a 12-4 FAMU run to vault them ahead, 58-50, but the Dolphins rallied to tie the game at 59-59 with 10:12 left on a Devin Harris layup. A J.R. Holder layup with 8:24 left would give Jacksonville a 61-59 lead.

Darien Fernandez’s layup with 6:53 left gave the Dolphins their largest lead at 66-59, but the Rattlers made a last gasp flurry, tying the score at 72-72 on a Ravenal layup with 19 seconds left.

Fernandez cashed in a game-winning three-pointer with 3.4 seconds left to seal the deal.

Desmond Williams finished with a game-high 20 points, to go with four rebounds and four blocked shots. Ravenal and Johnson each finished with 16 points for FAMU, with the two combining for seven three-pointers (Johnson four, Ravenal three), with Barham finishing with nine points, seven assists and seven rebounds.

Jacksonville had four players to score in double figures, led by Harris with 17 points and 11 rebounds, followed by 16 points each from Fernandez and Holder, with Darius Dawkins adding 12 points.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Rattlers will play two games in two nights before Christmas, taking on the Samford Bulldogs in Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday (7:00 CT), before dueling with Big 10 foe Wisconsin on Friday in Madison, Wisc.