Florida A&M Rallies From First Half Deficit to Defeat Howard
Washington, DC-Akini Akini scored all of his 12 points in the second half and Leslie Robinson added 10 of his 17 after intermission to lead Florida A&M University to a 57-52 come-from-behind win over Howard University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's game at Burr Gymnasium.
The Rattlers (5-9 overall, 1-1 in the MEAC) rallied from a 32-22 haftime deficit by putting together 21-8 run to start the second half and take a 43-40 lead that they never relinquished. Akini (12 points) and Robinson (6) combined for 18 points during the run.
Howard (3-12 overall, 0-2 in the MEAC), which shot 61 percent (14 of 23) in the first 20 minutes, suddenly went cold and made only seven of 25 in the second half. Despite being much smaller that the Bison, the Rattlers used their decided quickness in a trapping zone defense that befuddled Howard into taking several shots with the shot clock winding down.
"I think we have to play together longer," explained Howard Coach Gil Jackson. "We got off on a tangent in the second half and forgot how we got the lead."
Howard won the battle in the paint with a 32-18 advantage, but the outside shots would not fall as the Bison missed 14 of their 16 attempts from beyond the stripe.
The Rattlers, who return key backcourt performers who were members of last year's MEAC Tournament championship team, showed their poise down the stretch when the Bison challenged by hitting big shots and converting 13 of their 18 free throw attempts.
Howard junior guard Randy Hampton, who has been out since December 1 after suffering a concussion against Hampton, gave Howard an early boost in his return, scoring 8 of his 13 points in the first half. Hampton, who led the Bison with 13 points, played only seven minutes in the second half.
Sophomore center Paul Kirkpatrick, who continues to progress each game, recorded his second double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds to go along with 2 blocked shots, giving him 17 on the season. No other Bison player scored in double figures.
"We have to learn to play hard for 40 minutes," said Kirkpatrick. "We lost some focus on offense and made some slips on defense. We have to put this behind us and get ready for Monday's game."
The Rattlers were led by Robinson 17, Akini's 12 and Lamar Twitty's 16 off the bench.
NEXT UP: FAMU travels to Hampton, VA to take on the Pirates of Hampton University on Monday at 8 pm while the Bison will try to snap their 8-game skid when they host the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman University at 8 pm on Monday.