HONOLULU, Hawaii | Rod Melton, Jr. scored 15 of his career-high 27 points in the first half as the Florida A&M University men’s basketball nearly defeated South Dakota, 85-82, during the final day of the 55th Annual Outriggers Resorts Rainbow Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center on Monday night.
The Rattlers (0-4) led by as many as 10 points early in the first half, but South Dakota (3-0) battled back as the two teams went into the break tied at 44. The Coyotes survived a furious rally in the final minute to earn the win.
Melton, who’s previous career high was 16 points against Fort Valley State in 2018, went 10-of-20 from the floor, including 2-of-6 from behind the 3-point line and 5-of-8 from the foul line to finish with a game-high 27 points. MJ Randolph posted a career-high 16 points, on 4-of-5 shooting, and added five rebounds, three steals and one assist. Bryce Moragne tallied 12 points, a team-high nine rebounds and one steal, while Evins Desir registered a career-high 10 points, on 5-of-7 shooting, with five rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Tyler Hagedorn paced South Dakota with 23 points, four rebounds and one steal, while Triston Simpson registered 22 points, three assists and one board. Stanley Umude added 18 points, eight rebounds and a pair of steals, while Cody Kelley recorded 10 points, five boards and three assists.
How It Happened
The Rattlers raced out to a 15-5 advantage after a jumper by DJ Jones with 14:14 remaining in the opening half. However, the Coyotes reeled back in FAMU with a 14-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Triston Simpson to grab a 19-17 lead with 10:39 left.
South Dakota pushed the margin to 25-20 as Stanley Umude drained a 3-pointer with 8:58 left, but the Rattlers answered and put together an 18-9 run over the next even minutes to take a 38-34 advantage with 3:39 remaining.
There were four times over the final three minutes of the first half as Bryce Moragne sank a jumper with eight seconds remaining to send the two teams into the break tied at 44.
The Coyotes jumped out ot a 60-50 advantage after a 3-pointer by Umude with 16:23 remaining and South Dakota extended the margin to as many as 14, 69-55, after a pair of free throws by Thompson with just under 13 minutes left.
FAMU cut the deficit to 76-70 after two free throws my MJ Randolph with 5:15 left.
South Dakota quickly extended the lead to double digits, 83-73, as Hunter Goodrick scored on a layup with 2:23 remaining.
The Rattlers tried to rally late and trimmed the deficit to 85-82 after a Rod Melton layup with seven seconds left.
That set the stage for a potential tying score as Kamron Reaves’ shot attempt was blocked by Kruz Perrott-Hunt, sealing the victory for the Coyotes.
Inside the Numbers
> Florida A&M shot 49.2 percent (29-of-59) from the floor and 60.0 percent (21-of-35) from the charity stripe
> South Dakota was 26-of-44 (59.1 percent) from the field and 22-of-28 (78.6 percent) from the foul line
> FAMU registered 28 rebounds, including 18 on the defensive glass
> USD pulled down 35 rebounds, with 32 coming on the defensive end
> The Rattlers finished with 44 points in the paint, 18 bench points, 17 points off 14 USD turnovers, 15 fastbreak points and 13 second-chance points
> The Coyotes recorded 28 points in the paint, seven points off six FAMU turnovers, six fastbreak points, six bench points and two second-chance points
Florida A&M returns to the court on Nov. 23 as the Rattlers visit Seton Hall. Tip-off against the Pirates is set for Noon and the game can be streamed live on Fox Sports 2.
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