Norfolk State rolls past Florida A&M: Still perfect in MEAC
A 60-percent shooting night gave the Spartans plenty of highlights in a game televised live on ESPNU. They stayed perfect in MEAC play at 6-0 and moved one game closer to .500 overall at 10-11.
It was just the 13th time since NSU moved to D-I in 1997 that the program shot at least 60 percent in the game, and the first time doing so in five year. The Spartans got balanced scoring for the evening, as just three players scored in double figures despite a season high for points against a D-I team.
They led by as much as 34, threatening the program’s 35-point record for the largest margin of victory in a MEAC game. Jermaine Bishop led the way, tallying 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 4-of-6 from deep.
Florida A&M fell to 6-13 overall, 4-4 in the league.
The game starting off as a back and forth affair, at least for the first seven minutes of the contest. But the Spartans turned the corner from there. Buckets by junior Devante Carter, senior Steven Whitley and sophomore Joe Bryant Jr. started an initial 11-0 run, and it eventually stretched to a 21-4 spurt that lasted almost seven minutes. Whitley finished it with a bucket and two free throws, the latter with 5:37 to go in the half.
That made it 32-15 in favor of the Spartans. After the Rattlers got a few points back, NSU scored the last six points for a 42-23 lead at the break. The Spartans made 58 percent for the first half, holding FAMU to 32 percent shooting.
The Rattlers made 55 percent in the second half, nearly doubling their first-half production. The Spartans were even better at nearly 63 percent.
Bryant added 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Whitley contributed 11 points.
Three straight layups for NSU early in the second half build a 24-point lead for the Spartans. The Rattlers scored the next eight, getting to within 16. Bishop made three 3-pointers to help get the advantage back above 20, 59-36, with 13:27 to go in the game.
A 14-4 run pushed the advantage to 32, and the Spartans started getting easy buckets toward the end. The lead went to 34 with 6:11 to go on a dunk by junior Kashaun Hicks, but the Rattlers got it below 30 toward the end.
Hicks finished with nine points and five rebounds, while freshman Nyzaiah Chambers (eight points) and junior Spirit Ricks (seven points) added to the offensive onslaught. Carter posted a stat line of six points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals.
The Spartans made 8-of-16 from deep, part of a 35-of-58 overall night. They outscored FAMU 22-8 in fastbreak points and 50-30 in points in the paint. NSU held a 36-27 edge in rebounding.
Rod Melton totaled 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting for Florida A&M. MJ Randolph added 13 points and six rebounds, while Evins Desir (11 points, 6 rebounds) and Nasir Core (10 points) also reached double figures.
NSU will hit the road to take on North Carolina A&T next Saturday beginning at 4 p.m.