Stetson Holds On Down The Stretch To Keep Florida A&M Winless
Photo Courtesy of Stetson University

The Florida A&M Rattlers entered the game with an 0 – 12 record, but you would never be able to tell that they didn’t have a win on their resume by the way they played down the stretch on Saturday afternoon.

Despite the push by the Rattlers, it was too little too late. The Stetson Hatters held on down the stretch, and scored a 65 – 60 victory inside the Edmunds Center.

This was the second win of the season for the Hatters over the Rattlers this season, but this one was harder to come by.

In the first half, Florida A&M jumped out to an early 5 – 0 lead, capped off by a Craig Bowman layup at the 17:25 mark. It wasn’t until the 16:47 mark that Stetson would get on the board, as Grant Lozoya got Stetson on the board with a lay-up.

Florida A&M would extend the lead back to 6 – 2 shortly after, but would then go cold from the field. The Rattlers’ shooting woes allowed Stetson to gain some momentum on the offensive end. Freshman guard Divine Myles and Kentwan Smith made back-to-back lay-ups, and the game was knotted up at 6-all before a media timeout at the 14:42 mark.

Right out of the timeout, Angel Rivera made a three-ball to give Stetson their first lead of the game, prompting a Rattlers’ timeout shortly after.

Jorge Rosa made two costless throws for the Rattlers at the 12:02 mark, ending a scoreless drought of over 4 minutes for the team.

As the first half progressed, the Hatters and Rattlers would trade baskets. Stetson would get hot from the floor, and they would stretch the lead to as many as 12 points, capped off by a Brian Pegg lay-up at the 3:42 mark.

Rosa would make a three pointer for the Rattlers at the 2:29 mark, and those would be the last points scored by either team in the half.

Stetson would take a 27 – 18 lead into the break.

In the second half, the Hatters would quickly stretch the lead back to 14 points, as Lozoya made an early three and Myles made a lay-up on their next possession.

The lead would stretch to as many as 17 points for the Hatters, as a B.J. Glasford made a three-pointer at the 12:15 mark to give the Hatters a 44 – 27 lead.

The Rattlers would not go down quietly, and went on a big run on offense to get themselves back into the game. Florida A&M ran off a 16 – 5 run to get themselves back in the game, capped off by a Rosa three pointer to close the gap to 49 – 43.

From then on out, both teams would alternate baskets, but the Hatters would never relinquish the lead. Thanks to some clutch costless throw shooting down the stretch, the Hatters held on to score their second win over the Rattlers in the 2014-15 season.

Stetson welcomed in 2015 with a 65 – 60 victory over Florida A&M, to extend their record to 5 – 10, and 5 – 3 on their home floor.

The loss dropped Florida A&M to 0 – 13 on the year.

Both teams were dismal from the costless throw line in the contest. Florida A&M shot 57.9% (11-of-19), while Stetson shot 63.2% (12-of-19) from the line.

Lost in the mix for the Rattlers was the strong play of guard Jermaine Ruttley. In 39 minutes of floor time, Ruttley recorded a double-double of 24 points and 13 rebounds, both of which were game-highs. Rosa added in 15 points in a losing effort.

Only 6 players recorded points for the Rattlers on Saturday, while 11 players saw playing time. The team needs more balanced scoring if they want to end their losing streak any time soon.

Lozoya led the way for the Hatters, scoring a team-high 18 points in the victory. Freshman guard Divine Myles added in 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists, while Kentwan Smith added 10 points for the Hatters.

As a team, Stetson recorded 20 assists on 23 field goals made from the field. That has to make any coach happy.

Up next for the Rattlers is a home date with the Jacksonville Dolphins. The Hatters go on the road in their next contest, as they open up Atlantic Sun play against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.