TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 1) - The Florida A&M Men's Basketball team got their first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference win of the season as the Rattlers held on for a 75-67 win over arch-rival Bethune-Cookman, here Saturday evening at the Al Lawson Center.
FAMU (2-6, 1-0 MEAC) had a pair of Rattlers to finish with 20-plus points as Jamie Adams garnered a game-high 24 points, followed by Jamari Bradshaw with 20 points and Markee Teal pumped in 10 points to round out the cast of Rattlers in double-digit scoring. Muhammad Abdul-Aleem led FAMU on the boards with eight and Reggie Lewis dished out a team-high four assists.
The Rattlers appear to be playing better team ball than all of last season, head coach Clemon Johnson's first. Johnson feels this year's squad has grasped his concept already, even though there are several new players. "These guys weren't here to see that last year. We didn't come together as a team until the MEAC championship tournament. Coaches and players bumped heads all year until then. They had their ideas of what they wanted and I had mine about how we could win. We had friction all year up until the MEAC tournament. We have nine new players on this team and they've grown to a brotherhood already. The beauty of this team is that they're playing as a unit already. Now it's just a matter of cleaning up some things for the MEAC."
B-CU (2-6, 0-1 MEAC) had a pair of Wildcats to finish in double-digit scoring as Adrien Coleman finished with a team high 17 points, followed by Alex Smith with 13. Malik Jackson led the Wildcats on the boards with eight, while Paul Scotland dished out a team high four assists.
The Rattlers grabbed the early 13-8 lead on an Oneyekachukwu Odi layup with 13:56 to go in the half.
B-CU would tie the game at 13-13 on a Scotland field goal with 13:09 to go.
Alex Smith gave the Wildcats a 16-13 lead with a three point play with 12:42 to go in the half.
FAMU put together a 10-4 run to take a 23-20 lead with 9:13 to go in the game, capped off by a Trey Kellum free throw.
The Rattlers would then extend their lead by nine points as they used an 11-5 run, capped off by a Kellum field goal with 5:20 to in the half, giving the FAMU a 34-25 lead.
B-CU outscored FAMU 11-8 in the final four minutes of the half, as the Rattlers went into the break with a 42-36 lead.
The Rattlers have been led in scoring by Adams, who feels right at home with his new team. "I love my team. We've got to continue to come together the way we did tonight and do it throughout the MEAC. We'll just take it one game at a time," Adams said.
FAMU finish the first half shooting 57.1 percent (16-of-32), whereas B-CU shot 50.0 percent (16-of-32).
B-CU would not go away as they opened the second stanza with a 13-6 run, taking a 49-48 lead with 13:14 left in the game, capped off by an Allan Dempster dunk.
FAMU would tie the game at 51-51 on a Bradshaw three pointer at the 12:30 mark of the half. The Rattlers would ten pull away as they took a 61-57 lead on a Bradshaw three pointer with 8:49 to go in the game, followed by an Adams jumper with 5:41 to go in the game, giving the Rattlers a 69-60 lead.
This was Bradshaw's break out game. He displayed the skills that Johnson and his staff sought in the offseason to bolster his squad. "We recruited these guys for their ability to shoot the ball. We went to get one-on-one ballplayers and hopefully we could match them together for defense. We have people this year that can create on their own and when you collapse on them, we've got wing men who can knock down shots too," Johnson said.
Coleman cut the FAMU's lead to 69-65 on a put back with 2:18 to go in the game, but that would the closes that Wildcats would get as the Rattles held on for the 75-67 win.
The Rattlers finished the game shooting 48 percent (24-of-40), where B-CU shot 45.2 percent (28-of-62). B-CU held the rebounding edge over FAMU 39-36.
Bradshaw felt the flow and credited his team with getting him the ball, while he had the hot hand. He said, "When it came of my hands it felt good. I knew when it was leaving my hands that it was going in."
FAMU will return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 4 as they will welcome Edward Waters College to the Al Lawson Center in a 7 p.m. tip.