Courtesy of Bethune-Cookman Athletics
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman Men’s Basketball made it back-to-back home victories on Monday evening, as the Wildcats defeated Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) opponent Alabama A&M by a score of 88-77 inside Richard V. Moore Gymnasium.
Bethune-Cookman (8-14, 4-5 SWAC) led 44-41 at halftime, thanks in part to strong play from Zion Harmon and Dhashon Dyson, respectfully.
In the second half, Alabama A&M (8-14, 4-5) got a quick spark from Dailin Smith, as well as center Olisa Blaise Akonobi in order to pull themselves within 46-45 under a minute into the final stanza.
BCU would answer with an 8-2 run that was aided by three-pointers off the heels of Marcus Garrett and Dyson, respectively. After Joe French’s layup on the fast break, the Cats would lead it 54-47 at the first media timeout.
Moments later, Bethune-Cookman sparked a run that saw the Wildcats surge to their biggest lead of the game at 67-51 with baskets along the way by Dyson, Garrett and French. In fact, the Wildcats lead would never fall under double-digits the rest of the way until a Smith jumper in the paint pulled the Bulldogs to within 86-77 with 14 seconds remaining.
But a pair of Harmon free throws with 13 seconds left allowed the Cats their first double-digit win in league play during the 2022-23 campaign.
Both teams shot the ball at a high percentage on the night, with the hosts connecting at a 54 percent clip from the field overall, as well as 10-for-19 from three-point territory. AAMU registered a 43 percent shooting touch from the floor, but hit just 7-of-23 from long range.
The Bulldogs’ Akonobi finished with a double-double performance of 10 points and 10 rebounds, but was limited in his touches around the basket by the BCU defense. Garrett Hicks finished as the top scorer for the Bulldogs with 22 points, adding three rebounds and three steals along the way. Smith finished the evening with 15 points, including nine from the foul line, where he was 9-for-10 for the game.
The Wildcats shot just 18-of-33 at the free throw line on the night – something Head Coach Reggie Theus was concerned with when addressing the media during his postgame interview.
However, five Wildcats ended up in double-figures scoring, including Dyson with a game-high 23 points. Garrett and Harmon each recorded 17 points, with the duo also combining for nine assists. French added 12 points (2-of-5 shooting from three-point range), and Kevin Davis supplied 11 points, four steals and two blocked shots.
Bethune-Cookman plays next on Saturday, Feb. 4, when the Wildcats travel to Prairie View, Texas to take on SWAC opponent Prairie View A&M at 5:30 p.m. CT.
Next Game: at Prairie View A&M 2/4/2023 | 6:30 p.m.