The Florida A&M University men’s basketball team started the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play undefeated as they hold off Howard 78-66 behind Barham’s 21 points, and Derrick Dandridge 20 points with 10 boards.
Before the tip-off, Howard was favored to win the game, as they were also ranked the number one team in the MEAC conference, but the Rattlers had just enough as they were looking for a “W” to end their 10-game losing streak.
The win for the Rattlers ties the series match-up between the two teams at 32-32 with Howard previously winning the last three matches before Wednesday's loss.
The Rattlers and Bison struggled to score as the game was tied at a 38-38 stalemate by the end of the first half. Rattlers opened the second half of the game hitting all the right shots, putting on a shooting performance, cashing in on eight of 11 three-pointers (72.7%), and shooting 51.7% from the floor.
Howard University opened up the conference play 0-1 in the MEAC and 3-12 overall (3-12, 0-1) who was led by their preseason player of the year James Daniel who was the leading scorer in the country averaging just over 27 points a game last year. Daniel came back appearing in his first game of the season after suffering a high ankle sprain injury in the preseason.
He also added 24 points, 4 assist, and 2 blocked shots to go along with the leading scorer James Miller who scored 16 points, 2 blocks, and 1 steal.
After the game Daniel expressed that he gave his all, but now him and the team have to move forward.
“I played my best and gave it my all, but we have to bounce back from this as a team moving forward and hit practice hard and prepare for a “W” against our next opponent,” said Daniel.
Despite the loss, Howard's head coach Kevin NickelBerry has shown that he can win conference games. Howard has only recorded six seasons with 10 or more wins, and NickelBerry has been responsible for three of those seasons during his six-year tenure.
“It’s not good to open up the conference play with a loss, but I felt that my guys gave it all they got and that’s all I ask for so now we have to regroup and prepare for the next game,” said NickelBerry.
Rattlers head coach Byron Samuels said all season him and his team have been waiting for this moment of conference play.
“All season my guys have been waiting for the conference play, and I’m so proud of the team chemistry that was showed on the floor and how well we executed plays.”
Saturday the Rattlers take on Coppin State University, another conference game as the Rattlers look to remain undefeated in the MEAC. The game will take place at the Al Lawson Center at 6:00pm.