BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The Wildcats wrapped up the non-conference part of their basketball schedule with hard-fought losses to Florida International University (FIU) on Monday and Louisiana State University two days earlier.
A final three-point attempt by B-CU fell short in a 74-72 loss to FIU.
“You want an opportunity to win the game. We had a good look, but it didn’t go down,” said Gravelle Craig, B-CU’s head coach.
B-CU (5-11) cut a 12-point deficit down to two points after a layup by Ricky Johnson with 17 seconds left.
The Wildcats scored 22 points off 18 Panthers turnovers and held the advantage in bench points 38-23.
B-CU started well and led 26-16 with 6:37 to go in the first half after a lay up from Adrien Coleman.
Coleman finished 20 points while Kevin Dukes added 15 points and Javoris Bryant 14.
The Panthers held the edge in points in the paint (42-32) and rebounding (42-36).
Tigers outmatch ‘Cats
Alex Smith had 10 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks and six assists for the Wildcats in a 79-63 loss to LSU (Louisiana State University).
B-CU shot 37 percent of the field but held its own on the boards only trailing 38-33.
The Tigers outscored the Wildcats 40-26 in the paint and 29-15 off the bench.
“We started slow. We had to use a lot of energy to fight back. Their size also wore us down. I am pleased with the effort but we need to start better,” commented Craig.
Coleman paced B-CU with a game high 24 points in that contest.
For his performance, Alex Smith was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Week.
It was the second consecutive week that Smith received the honor.
Smith’s seven blocks against LSU tied him for the third most in a singe game in school history. His six steals put him in an eight-way tie for sixth in a single game in school history. Smith also has 32 blocks this season.
On the season, Smith is averaging 8.9 points and 6.6 rebounds a game.
Ladies fall to FAMU
Bethune-Cookman fell to archrival Florida A&M 76-60 in the conference opener for both teams.
FAMU (4-10, 0-1) remained a thorn in B-CU’s side. The Rattlers have now beaten the Wildcats 17 times in the last 21 meetings spanning over the past 11 seasons, including 13 straight.
The Wildcats turned the ball over 35 times, which resulted in 37 points for the Rattlers.
“The girls were ready and hyped up, but you cannot turn the ball over that many times against a good team,” responded Vanessa Blair, B-CU’s head coach.
B-CU (5-8, 0-1) outrebounded the Rattlers 47-23 and outscored them in the paint 30-18.
Amanda Hairston had 12 points with 13 rebounds and two blocks for B-CU while Rene Taylor added 18 points.
Men to face N.C. teams
Both basketball programs now shift their attention to Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Both teams will host North Carolina A&T on Jan. 12 and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) on Jan. 14.
On the men’s side, North Carolina A&T (7-9, 0-1) will be a test for B-CU. Like always the ‘Cats will be a bit undersized.
The Aggies feature Adrian Powell (12.7 ppg), Lamont Middleton (13.0) and Jean Louisme (10.8 ppg).
North Carolina Central (7-9, 1-0) will be a formidable foe for the Wildcats. The Eagles were picked to finish in the top four in the conference pre-season polls.
The Eagles boast Jeremey Ingram (16.5 ppg), Stanley Kidd (14.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Ray Willis (12.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Jay Copeland (9.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg).
Note: NCCU played a game on Tuesday night which was after deadline.
The women face tough program
North Carolina A&T (9-5, 1-0) is always one of the MEAC’s best programs and are always tough for the Lady Wildcats.
The Aggies won MEAC regular season crowns from 2008-2010 and won a MEAC tournament title in 2009.
They feature JaQuayla Berry (11.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg), Amber Calvin (10.2ppg) and Tracy King (8.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg).
North Carolina Central (0-14, 0-1) has struggled so far this season.
The Eagles are led by Chassidy Williams (10.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg).
Football: Wildcats ranked in final poll
Bethune-Cookman finished the 2012 football season ranked No. 22 in the final Sports Network FCS Top 25 poll released on Monday.
B-CU went 9-3, won the MEAC title and made the FCS playoffs. The Wildcats also were 8-0 in conference play this season.
The Wildcats were the only HBCU team ranked in the final poll.
They lost to Coastal Carolina 24-14 in the first round of the FCS playoffs. The Chanticleers finish the year ranked No. 24.
National Champion North Dakota State took the top spot after winning the title a week ago.