By Ebony Ivey/FAMU Sports Information Intern
NORFOLK, Va. (Mar. 6) - In day two of MEAC tournament play, the No.9 seeded FAMU Rattlers faced off against eighth seeded Bison of Howard University. The Rattlers (9-24) handled the Bison (10-23) 88-78 at the Scope Arena in Norfolk, VA.
Coming off of a 3-of-4 game winning streak, the Rattlers went on a 9-0 run in the game’s first three minutes and led by as many as 18 during the contest.
Rattler seniors Elijah Mayes and Marcus Barham went into the half with 12 points a piece.
Bison first team All-MEAC players RJ Cole and Charles "CJ" Williams stepped up to decrease their team’s halftime deficit to 4.
“My coaching staff did a great job preparing us for this game. It's something that we’ve been working on, as far as leadership, since the off-season and more importantly this game," Mayes said about the Rattlers’ performance.
After halftime, the Bison who outscored the Rattlers 32-20 in the paint, commanded their first lead of the game at 47-46
Trading runs for the lead, foul trouble found several Bison players, including Cole, in a bind with more than a quarter remaining.
Rattler play calls capitalized off of the retirement of Cole, who finished with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
Down to two minutes, Mayes' dominance beyond the arc, brought the Rattlers back to an 11 point lead before he fouled out of the contest.
To seal the contest, five three throws by Barham and two by Justin Ravenel placed the win in the Rattler’s hands.
The team went 29-35 from the free throw line, shooting 82 percent.
Leading all scorers for the Rattlers was Mayes who dropped 27 points with 6 assists. Barham followed suit with 20 points 8 boards, and Williams collected 17 points.
“Extremely proud of our guys. We got off to a great start,” said head coach Robert McCullum. "As a coach in post-season play, you can’t wish for more.”
“I don’t always have to make the wave. I can ride the wave,” Williams said. “My teammates were rolling. My mindset was to come in and make sure that I keep the momentum high. If that’s not scoring it could be clapping my hands, pumping my teammates up, or defensive rebounding.”
In less than 24 hours, the Rattlers will face Hampton University at Scope Arena.