The Florida A&M University men’s basketball team was able to remain undefeated at home as they pulled off a victory against South Carolina State University, 61-56.
With this win, FAMU (12-14,10-5) will finish the season with a perfect 8-0 run at home for the first time since the 1988-1989 season. They are currently fourth in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference.
The Rattlers led the game early with a 14-4 run ending the first half 28-22. They would give up that lead after entering the second half, before regaining the lead and eventually winning the game.
With a slow start, the Bulldogs (12-15,6-8) were able to capitalize and tie the game during the second half with around 18 minutes remaining.
FAMU Head Coach Robert McCullum spoke of the team’s resilience in order to secure the win against SC State.
“Good teams find a way,” said McCullum. “They find a way to win.”
Although poor shooting caused constant trouble for the team, it was the defense and free throws that were able to keep the Rattlers in the lead.
“To shoot 36 percent from the field and still win, it says a lot about our growth,” McCullum said. “And it says a lot about how well rounded we are.”
The team shot,1-12 (eight percent) from the three-point line, but had 34 rebounds and scored 21 points off of 21 turnovers from the Bulldogs.
With only 18 seconds remaining on the clock, Brendon Myles was fouled and able to secure both free throws increasing the lead to 59-54. The Bulldogs were unable to answer.
Four of the Rattlers scored double digits including MJ Randolph and Rod Melton Jr both dropping 15 points each, Bryce Morange with 14 points off the bench and Nasir Core finishing with 10 points.
Reflecting on their senior year, Melton Jr and Core talked about what it meant for them to play for FAMU under McCullum.
Core attributed McCullum to him becoming a better player and a better man.
“It hasn’t always been easy and we don’t always see eye to eye,” Core said. “But I always feel like he had my best idea at hand.”
Melton Jr expressed the same sentiments as Core as he also believed McCullum had his best interests at heart.
“He pushed me every day at practice to be the best player that I could be,” said Melton Jr.
Some other keynotes from the game were that the Rattlers were able to break their six-game losing streak to SC State and have won 13 out of their last 16 home games.
They have also completed back-to-back MEAC winning seasons for the first time since the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.
The Rattlers will conclude their season on Thursday, March 5 against Bethune-Cookman University. Tipoff will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Moore Gymnasium.