TALLAHASSEE, Fl. - (FAMU Athletics) — The Florida A&M men's basketball team (2-6, 1-0 MEAC) started Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play on the right foot, earning a 70-68 victory over South Carolina State (0-13, 0-3 MEAC) inside the Al Lawson Center on Sunday afternoon.
Preseason MEAC second-team selection, MJ Randolph, led the Rattler attack tallying a double-double scoring a game-high 21 points while snatching 13 rebounds with five assists and three steals. Randolph went 9-for-15 on field goal attempts.
Three other Rattlers scored in double-figures. DJ Jones scored 12 points with a game-high four blocks to go along with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Bryce Moragne scored 11 points, going 5-of-6 from the field four rebounds, two assists and one steal. Johnny Brown contributed 10 points with eight rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Coming off of a sensational 21-point performance against the University of South Carolina last weekend, freshman guard, Jalen Speer, added nine points, including going 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
For the game, Florida A&M shot 49.1 percent from the field (28-of-57), while SCSU drained 40.3 percent of their shots (27-of-67). The Rattlers hit 30 percent of their three-point attempts (6-of-20), while the Bulldogs hit on seven of their 24 attempts from behind the arc (29.2 percent).
South Carolina State was paced offensively by Omar Croskey, who poured in 18 points with six rebounds, three steals and two assists.
The victory extends FAMU's home winning streak to nine.
HOW IT HAPPENED
South Carolina State entered the Lawson Center with an upset on their minds.
With the game tied at 24 with 4:32 left in the first half, Themus Fulks started an 8-2 run, leading to the Bulldogs largest lead of the contest, 33-26 with 1:53 left in the first.
Bryce Moragne capped the first half scoring with layup just before halftime, to cut the SCSU lead to 33-32 at the break.
FAMU found its stride in the second half, as the Rattlers held the lead for the final 19:48 of the contest.
The Rattlers of the final period on a 14-4 run, taking a 46-37 lead with 13:11 left to play.
The Bulldogs never completely went away, however, cutting the Rattler to 46-43 with 11:30 left in the contest.
Johnny Brown helped FAMU gain its biggest lead (13) of the contest on a three-pointer with nine minutes left. The Rattler were on top 56-43.
With the Rattlers up 69-59 with 2:07 left, it seemed as if FSMU would salt the game away, however, SCSU had one final flurry left in them, as they went on a 9-0 run, trimming the Rattler advantage to 69-68. However, an untimely intentional foul sent Moragne to the free throw line where he would split a one-and-one.
SCSU rebounded on the missed second free throw, but Randolph picked Tariq Simmons' pocket to seal the victory for FAMU.
Inside the Numbers
> FAMU shot 49.1 percent from the field (28-of-57)
> SCSU shot 40.3 percent from the field (27-of-67)
> FAMU shot 30 percent from three-point range (6-of-20)
> SCSU shot 29.2 percent from three-point range (7-of-24)
> FAMU went 8-of-16 on free throw attempts (50 percent)
> SCSU went 7-of-16 on free throw attempts (43.8 percent)
> SCSU out-rebounded FAMU 41-38.
> SCSU grabbed 14 offensive rebounds compared to FAMU's seven offensive boards
> FAMU scored 14 second-chance points compared to SCSU's 12 second-chance points
> FAMU committed 21 turnovers while forcing 19 Bulldog turnovers.
> SCSU scored 20 points off turnovers while FAMU scored 18 points off turnovers.
> Both teams scored 34 points in the paint
> SCSU's bench outscored FAMU's bench 21-12
Florida A&M and South Carolina State play each other again on Monday night at the Al Lawson Center. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. While no fans will be allowed to attend the contest in person, the game will be streamed on FAMUAthletics.com