TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | Nasir Core and Rod Melton, Jr. each scored 17 points as the Florida A&M University men's basketball team avoided the season sweep with a 66-57 victory over North Carolina Central in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) game on Monday afternoon at the Al Lawson Center.
Florida A&M (5-12 overall, 3-3 MEAC), which halted the NCCU win streak at two games, led 27-17 at the break and led by as many as 23 points midway through the second half.
Melton finished with 17 points, on 7-of-15 shooting, with seven rebounds, while Core registered 17 points, four boards, one steal and one assist. MJ Randolph tallied 12 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists.
CJ Keyser led North Carolina Central (7-12, 3-2) with 13 points, six rebounds, one block, one steal and one assist. Jibri Blount, the MEAC's top scorer, was held in check as he finished with 12 points and eight boards. Deven Palmer added 12 points, while Jordan Perkins chipped in 11.
How It Happened
Florida A&M took an early 11-6 lead after a Core free throw and extended the margin to 25-14 after a 3-pointer by Melton with 5:32 remaining in the first half.
The Rattlers pushed the margin to 27-15 after a Kamron Reaves jumper with 1:49 left, but a bucket by Deven Palmer cut the deficit to 27-17 right before the break.
Florida A&M continued to extend the advantage as Core connected on a three-point play to give the Rattlers a 25-18 lead with 16:15 remaining.
FAMU took its largest lead of the game, 45-22, after a 3-pointer by Core with 11:18 left, but North Carolina Central closed the gap to 57-40 after a free throw by Nicolas Fennell with 5:24 remaining.
The Eagles got as close as seven points, 62-55, with 1:31 left, but a free throw by MJ Randolph and a jumper by Melton sealed the FAMU win
Inside the Numbers
> Florida A&M shot 37.7 percent (23-of-61) from the floor and 61.5 percent (16-of-26) from the charity stripe
> North Carolina Central was 21-of-50 (42.0 percent) from the field and 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) from the foul line
> FAMU registered 42 rebounds, with 19 coming on the offensive end
> NCCU pulled down 35 rebounds, including 27 on the defensive glass
> The Rattlers finished with 22 points in the paint, 19 second-chance points, 19 bench points, 17 points off 17 NCCU turnovers and six fastbreak points
> The Eagles recorded 29 bench points, 22 points in the paint, eight second-chance points and eight points off 12 FAMU turnovers
News and Notes
> The Rattlers improved to 15-8 at home during the Robert McCullum era
> Florida A&M has faced two nationally-ranked programs so far this season – #10 Seton Hall and No. 21 Tennessee
> FAMU picked up a signature victory on Dec. 31 against Iowa State (70-68)
> The Rattlers have only played three of their 17 games at home this season
Florida A&M returns to action on Saturday with a trip to Washington, D.C. to face off against Howard. Tip-off against the Bison is set for 4 p.m.
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