Florida A&M hangs on to beat Howard 87-83

From Florida A&M Sports Information:

 Rod Melton, Jr. tied a career-high 27 points, including going 10-of-13 from the free-throw line, as the Florida A&M University men’s basketball team held off Howard, 87-83, in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) game on Saturday afternoon at Burr Gymnasium. 

Florida A&M (6-12 overall, 4-3 MEAC), which matched its season-long win streak with the victory over Howard, led by as many as 18 and watched it disappear in the second half. The Rattlers led 45-27 late in the first half, but the Bison (2-19, 0-6) used a 23-4 run to open the second half and took a 58-51 advantage with 13:54 remaining.

Melton poured in a game-high 27 points, on 8-of-14 shooting, along with three rebounds and one steal to pace the FAMU offense. DJ Jones registered 12 points, six boards, one assist and one block, while Nasir Core added 12 points, two assists, one steal. MJ Randolph recorded 11 points, seven rebounds and tied a career high with six assists. Bryce Moragne chipped in 10 points, a team-high eight boards and two steals.

Charles Williams led Howad with 21 points, on 8-of-12 shooting, with four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. Nate Garvey registered 16 points, three assists, two rebounds and one block, while Wayne Bristol, Jr. poured in 13 points and four rebounds. Khalil Robinson tallied 11 points and a game-high nine assists.

How It Happened
Howard led, 10-9, after a Kyle Foster jumper with 17:03 remaining in the opening half, but the Rattlers used a 19-9 run over the next seven minutes to grab a 28-17 advantage with 10:39 left.

Florida A&M pushed the margin to 35-21 after a three-point play by Rod Melton, Jr. with 7:11 left, but the Bison closed the gap to 35-25 after a bucket with Charles Williams with 6:43 remaining.

A layup by Nasir Core, dunk by DJ Jones and a 3-pointer by Core quickly extended the Rattler advantage to 43-25 with 4:32 remaining in the first half.

Howard cut the deficit to 47-35 as Foster sank a 3-pointer right before the half.

The Bison came out strong in the second half and used a 23-4 run during the first six minutes to grab a 58-51 advantage after a dunk by Williams with 13:54 remaining.

Florida A&M took a 63-60 lead as MJ Randolph sank a jumper, but a 3-pointer by Nate Garvey tied the game at 63 with 8:31 left.

Buckets by Melton and Bryce Moragne put the Rattlers ahead, 67-63, with 7:35 remaining and Florida A&M stretched the advantage to 73-66 after a Randolph layup with 4:20 left.

A Melton layup gave the Rattlers a 78-71 lead with 1:03 remaining, but a 3-pointer by Bristol trimmed the margin in half, 78-74, with 54 seconds left.

Down the stretch, Florida A&M went 9-for-10 at the foul line as Howard cut the deficit to 85-83 with eight seconds left, but a pair of Moragne free throws sealed the game for the Rattlers with three seconds left.

Inside the Numbers
> Florida A&M shot 54.0 percent (34-of-63) from the floor and 71.4 percent (15-of-21) from the charity stripe
> Howard was 30-of-57 (52.6 percent) from the field and 13-of-13 (100.0 percent) from the foul line
> FAMU registered 32 rebounds, with 19 coming on the defensive end
> HU pulled down 27 rebounds, including 20 on the defensive glass
> The Rattlers finished with 40 points in the paint, 27 bench points, 26 points off 17 HU turnovers, 20 second-chance points and 12 fastbreak points
> The Bison recorded 30 points in the paint, 26 bench points, 18 points off 12 FAMU turnovers, eight fastbreak points and two second-chance points

News and Notes
> The Rattlers picked up their first road conference win of the season

> Rod Melton, Jr. had 27 points, which tied a career high

> FAMU matched its longest win streak of the season (two games)

> 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 18 games at home this season

> Florida A&M has travelled 25,768 miles thus far this season and will add an additional 195 with the trip to Norfolk, Va. on Monday

Up Next
Florida A&M returns to action on Monday with a nationally televised game against Norfolk State. Tip-off at the Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted live on ESPNU.

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