Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Rattlers rally, hold off slumping Aggies, 83-77

The FAMU men’s basketball team caught fire in the second half here Saturday, scoring 49 points to rally past struggling North Carolina A&T, 83-77 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at the Corbett Sports Center.

FAMU (7-17, 5-6 MEAC) trailed 37-34 at the half, after shooting 42 percent (12 of 28) to the Aggies’ 50 percent (15 of 30).

The Rattlers turned the tables in the second in all phases offensively, shooting a robust 56 percent (14 of 25) from the floor, 75 percent (3 of 4) from distance, and most importantly, 94.7 percent (18 of 19) from the free throw line.

Junior Marcus Barham led FAMU with 22 points, including a trio of three-pointers, followed by Justin Ravenel’s 17 points, and three triples.  Desmond Williams added 13, Derrick Dandridge 12 and Trey-Cary Warren finished with 11.

It was Barham’s traditional three-point play, a layup and a free throw, that put the Rattlers ahead, 41-39 with 18:23 to go, capping a 7-2 FAMU run to open the half.

The Rattlers and Aggies played a tightly contested game down the stretch, but FAMU began to assert control at the foul line, as freshman Nasir Core cashed in at pair of charity tosses to put his team up 62-57 with 10:06 left, then knocked down two more with 4:42 left to a 72-66 lead.

But the Aggies were not done, as they pulled to within one at 76-75 on a James Whitaker triple with 1:15 left, then Barham drilled a triple to push the Rattlers ahead, 79-75.

A&T’s Raymond Pratt hit a layup with 35 seconds left to slice the Rattler lead to 79-77, but Ravenel sank a pair of foul shots with 24 seconds left for an 81-77 edge, then Barham added a slam dunk off an Aggie turnover for the game’s final points.

Sam Hunt led A&T (2-23, 0-10 MEAC) with 19 points, followed by Amari Hamilton with 17 points, and James Whitaker with 15 points and seven rebounds.

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