Originally created 03/17/04

Rattlers will face Wildcats



DAYTON, Ohio - The NCAA Tournament's only team with a losing record is moving up its bracket.

Terrence Woods, the nation's most prolific 3-point shooter, found his touch in the second half Tuesday, leading Florida A&M to a 72-57 victory over Lehigh in the play-in game.

The Rattlers (15-16) will make the one-hour drive to Columbus for a first-round game Friday against Kentucky, hoping to do much better than their three play-in predecessors.

Northwestern State, Siena and North Carolina-Asheville fell hard in their first-round games against top seeds, losing by an average of 26 points.

To make matters worse, two of Florida A&M's guards ended the game with noticeable limps. Woods bruised his thigh in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic tournament title game Saturday, and had trouble making shots in the first half.

His stride and his shot got better as the game went along. Woods finished five of 10 from behind the arc with 21 points.

Tony Tate also hurt his leg in a pileup and had to leave the game temporarily. He grimaced often and finished with nine points on one of eight shooting.

Even with their limps, the Rattlers had more than enough.

Lehigh (20-11) led for less than a minute in its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1988. The Patriot League winner fell to 0-14 in the NCAA Tournament.

The Rattlers made only a pair of 3s in the first half, both by Woods, and led 39-33 at halftime. Lehigh couldn't use its size advantage on the front line or take care of the ball - the Mountain Hawks had 10 turnovers.

In the second half, Woods found his touch.

He came off a screen and hit a 3-pointer between two defenders, sparking a nine-point run that built the lead to 16 points midway through the half. Lehigh was only 2-of-15 from the field as Florida A&M pulled away.