The Florida A&M men’s basketball team defeated Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival Norfolk State University on Saturday by a score of 66-63 and extended the Rattlers’ home winning streak to seven games.
The first matchup between these two teams resulted in a 95-67 win for the Spartans, but this time around FAMU made sure to come out on top.
For the first 6 minutes of the game, neither team could buy a bucket from the field, but the Rattlers began to heat up and ended the first half with a commanding 37-19 lead over the Spartans.
Also, the Rattlers defense was able to get it done, as they held the Spartans to 30.8% shooting from the field and 18.2% from beyond the arc in the first half.
FAMU Head Coach Robert McCullum spoke about his team’s defensive presence in the first half.
“We held them to 19 points in the first half and that’s about as good as it gets, we’re talking about a team that’s first in the league,” McCullum said.
“I felt the biggest thing that we had to overcome was (the) lack of confidence, and that’s what (we’ve) talked about all week (and) believing that we can beat them,” McCullum added.
The Spartans wouldn’t go away, however, and made a late-game run within the second half and closed the gap on the Rattlers. A game in which the Rattlers were once up by double digits, quickly turned into a game that came down to the wire.
The Spartans outscored the Rattlers in the second half 44-29, but the Rattlers showed their poise and held off the pesky Spartans.
Also, FAMU showed a balanced attack in terms of scoring, as Bryce Moragne dropped in 18 points, Rod Melton Jr. finished with 15 points, and M.J Randolph and Nasir Core each finished with 10 points of their own.
In the team’s post-game press conference, Moragne credits his teammates and describes how they were able to find him in open spots on the floor.
“For the most part it wasn’t really what I saw, it’s what my teammates saw and they were able to find me when I was in the open gap, so I just tried to do a good job running up and down the sideline,” Moragne said.
Rod Melton Jr., one of the team’s seniors this year, spoke about his last upcoming home game at the Al Lawson Center on Monday evening and some fond memories he has with his teammates.
“I can think back to when we were in Hawaii and time (just) flies by,” Melton Jr. said.
“I will truly miss these guys and the time that I have spent playing with them,” Melton Jr. said. “It’s just a lot of feelings and I just want to stay undefeated at home,” Melton Jr. added.
Monday night will be the last home game of the season for the Rattlers as they will take on South Carolina State at 8 p.m. The Rattlers will look to finish off the season undefeated at home and give the seniors a warm farewell.