After 13 straight road games, Florida A&M University’s men’s basketball team defeated Morgan State by 77-68 on Saturday. This game marked their first win in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play and their first home game since November 10.
While every team could use a dose of home cooking, FAMU Head Coach Robert McCullum described how the team’s rigorous non-conference schedule has prepared them to deal with early-season adversity.
“Well, we play a number of non-conference games anyway, so we have come to handle that, but anytime you can deal with any kind of adversity or putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and come through and handle that well, that carries over to games,” McCullum said.
Sophomore guard MJ Randolph seemed to have set a tone on the offensive end against the Bears of Morgan State, as Randolph poured in a team-high 19 points.
“I was just trying to be aggressive for my team and make the right plays whether it was shooting or passing,” Randolph said.
“I told MJ (Randolph) he passed up on some opportunities, (but) sometimes you can get so caught up in being a team player that you pass up open shots,” McCullum added.
With the roaring crowd of those dawning the colors of orange and green in the Al Lawson Center, the fans played a key role in the Rattlers cranking up the defensive pressure as well. FAMU played suffocating defense all game, as they caused 19 turnovers, which opened up multiple fast break opportunities on the other end.
“The turnovers were critical,” McCullum stated. “When a team turns it over nine more times, that’s nine more possessions in itself and those possessions are huge,” McCullum said.
Redshirt Junior forward DJ Jones didn’t disappoint either, as Jones ended his night with 11 points and made one timely shot after another to help the Rattlers edge out the win. Jones gave credit to Coach McCullum in the team’s post-game press conference.
“Coach (McCullum) kept calling plays for me, knowing that I am a pretty good shooter from the mid-range, so I just had to knock (those shots) down.”
Hoping for more of the same result, FAMU (3-11, 1-2 MEAC) will be set to faceoff against Coppin State University (4-14, 0-3 MEAC) at the Al Lawson Center on Monday evening. The game will begin at 8 p.m.