DAYTONA BEACH, Fl. — The Florida A&M University men's basketball team had an opportunity to win the game in regulation at the foul line, but Bethune-Cookman got a clutch free throws during the final minute to edge the Rattlers, 72-70, in overtime in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) game on Thursday night at Moore Gymnasium.
Florida A&M ended the season at 12-15 overall and 10-6 in the MEAC, while Bethune-Cookman (16-14, 10-6) ended the regular season 10-1 at home.
MJ Randolph had a chance to win the game in regulation as he went to the foul line with two seconds left. He made the first shot and Bethune-Cookman called a timeout. His missed on the second shot as the two teams went into overtime tied at 63.
In overtime, Brendon Mylesmissed a 3-pointer with one second left and Houston Smith's free throw lifted Bethune-Cookman to the conference win.
Rod Melton, Jr. led three FAMU players in double figures with 19 points, on 7-of-15 shooting, with three assists, two rebounds and one steal. Randolph finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards, along with two assists, while Evins Desiradded 13 points and three boards.
Cletrell Pope paced Bethune-Cookman with a double-double of 20 points and 16 rebounds, along with four steals and two blocked shots. Wali Parks chipped in 10 points, five boards, two assists and one block, while Malik Maitland registered 10 points, five rebounds, a. game-high six assists and two steals.
How It Happened
Bethune-Cookman grabbed a 17-13 advantage after a free throw by Houston Smith with 11:05 remaining in the opening half and extended the margin to 26-17 after an Isaiah Bailey 3-pointer with 5:32 left.
A bucket by MJ Randolph snapped a four-plus minute stretch without a basket by the Rattlers as FAMU closed the gap to 26-19 with 4:45 remaining. Randolph's layup sparked an 9-2 run, capped by a pair of free throws by Nasir Core, tying the game at 28, with 1:19 left.
Wali Parks jumper with 52 seconds left gave the Wildcats a 30-28 lead heading into the break.
Florida A&M opened the second half strong, using a 7-0 run, capped by a Rod Melton, Jr. three-point play, giving the Rattlers a 35-30 lead with just under 17 minutes to play
Bethune-Cookman closed the gap to 37-35 after a pair of Leon Redd free throws, but the Rattlers got a 3-pointer by Melton to push the lead to 40-35 with 15:23 remaining.
The Wildcats responded with a 13-0 run, by a Joe French 3-pointer, to take a 48-42 lead with just under 11 minutes left.
Back came the Rattlers as Evins Desir had a thunderous dunk, Randolph a layup and Brendon Myles sank a pair at the foul line, tying the game at 53 with 6:37 remaining.
Smith sank a pair of free throws with 3:22 remaining, giving Bethune-Cookman a 60-57 lead, but Randolph answered with a layup, closing the margin to 60-59, with 2:55 left.
A free throw by Bailey and a Parks jumper gave the Wildcats a 63-60 advantage with 1:23 left, but a layup by Randolph at the other end cut the deficit to 63-62.
Florida A&M had a chance to take the lead with 20 seconds left, but Melton missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer and Bailey grabbed the rebound as he was immediately fouled by Nasir Core.
Bailey went to the foul line, but missed the shot as Bryce Moragne collected the rebound with 13 seconds left and the Rattlers called a timeout with 10 ticks on the clock.
After the timeout, Randolph went to the foul line with two seconds left and made one-of-two, tying the game at 63 as the two teams finished regulation tied.
In overtime, Florida A&M took a 67-65 lead after a Melton 3-pointer, but Pope tied the game with a layup with 2:25 left. However, Myles drained a 3-pointer with just over two minutes left, giving Florida A&M the 70-67 lead.
Bethune-Cookman grabbed a 71-70 lead after two free throws by Pope with 52 seconds remaining.
Core missed a jumper with 23 seconds left and the Wildcats grabbed the rebound as the Rattlers were forced to foul.
The Rattlers still had one more opportunity to win the game as Myles' three-point attempt was off target with one second left and Bethune-Cookman sealed the game at the foul line.
Inside the Numbers
> Florida A&M shot 43.3 percent (26-of-60) from the floor and 57.1 percent (12-of-21) from the charity stripe
> Bethune-Cookman was 27-of-62 (43.5 percent) from the field and 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) from the foul line
> FAMU registered 38 rebounds, with 27 coming on the defensive end
> BCU pulled down 42 rebounds, including 27 on the defensive glass
> The Rattlers finished with 32 points in the paint, 17 bench points, 16 points off 17 BCU turnovers, 10 second-chance points and two fastbreak points
> The Wildcats recorded 40 points in the paint, 23 points off 21 FAMU turnovers, 19 bench points, 17 second-chance points and two fastbreak points
News and Notes
> The Rattlers and Wildcats split the season series, with both teams winning on their home courts
> Florida A&M was seeking its first season sweep of Bethune-Cookman since the 2006-07 season
> FAMU is 3-5 in overtime games during the Robert McCullum era, including 2-2 this season
> Florida A&M faced two nationally-ranked programs – #10 Seton Hall and No. 21 Tennessee
> FAMU picked up a signature victory on Dec. 31 against Iowa State (70-68)
> Florida A&M completed back-to-back MEAC winning seasons for the first time since the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons
> The Rattlers played only eight games at home this season and went a perfect 8-0, a feat achieved for the first time inside the Al Lawson Center and the first time FAMU finished unbeaten at home in 31 years (1988-89)
> Florida A&M completed the season having travelled 29,330 miles