The South Carolina State men's basketball team fell short in an, 76-74, decision to Florida A&M Monday (Feb.26th ) at the Al Lawson Center.
"The story of the game is we didn't make shots from the perimeter tonight. It has been the story of our season. We go from red hot versus NCCU to ice cold against FAMU," said Bulldog head coach Murray Garvin. "In spite of the poor shooting from 3-point range we still had a chance to win and didn't make the right plays in the last seven minutes of the game."
The Bulldogs had three players in double figures with sophomore forward Damani Applewhite leading the way with 16 points and eight rebounds. Junior guard Janai Raynor-Powell had a solid night on the floor with 15 points and nine rebounds, while senior guard Patrell Rogers added 14 in the loss.
Sophomore forward Alex Taylor played well off the bench with six points and six rebounds.
SC State dominated in every category including rebounding (42-34), points in the paint (30-18), points off turnovers (16-9), second chance points (11-8) and bench points (14-0).
Poor free-throw and three-point shooting seemed to be the deciding factor down the stretch. The Bulldogs shot 69.2% (18-of-26) from the charity stripe and 12.5% (2-of-16) from behind the arc.
FAMU led 34-32 during intermission.
The game was tied eight times in the second-half, with the Bulldogs building its biggest lead of the evening seven off a free-throw by Applewhite at with 6:34 remaining. A layup with a foul on FAMU's Desmond Williams gave the Rattlers the lead, 71-70, with 1:35 left in regulation.
Senior guard James Richardson alley hoop dunk from Raynor-Powell pulled South Carolina State within one,73-72, with 0:31 seconds left. The Rattlers converted on three-straight free-throws down the stretch to seal the 76-74 victory.
"Several times we got the stop and then fouled on the rebound. Give FAMU credit their main guys performed like they are supposed tonight for the win," said Garvin.
FAMU was led by Desmond Williams who recorded the games only double-double with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Elijah Mayes finished with a game-high 25 points, while Marcus Barham added 20 in the win.
South Carolina State close out the regular season at home Thursday (March. 1) when they host Savannah State at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m. for the women and for the men a 7:30 p.m. start.