Rod Melton Jr.’s jumper with 8.1 seconds left put Florida A&M ahead for good in one of the season’s most stunning upsets, as the Rattlers collected a big check and a 70-68 nonconference win over Iowa State on Tuesday in Ames, Iowa.
Melton scored a team-high 20 points, none bigger than the shot he made to double the Rattlers’ win total. Florida A&M improved to 2-9 for the season by canning 57.6 percent of its field-goal tries in the second half.
The Cyclones (7-5) turned the ball over after Melton’s go-ahead shot, and Florida A&M’s M.J. Randolph, who finished with 13 points, sank a foul shot with 2.3 seconds remaining. Randolph missed his second free throw, but time expired before Iowa State could attempt a last shot.
DJ Jones added 16 points and seven rebounds for Florida A&M while Kamron Reaves chipped in 10 points. The Rattlers started 0-9, but got off the schneid on Dec. 21 with a win at Seattle.
Rasir Bolton pumped in a game-high 29 points for the Cyclones, who played without Tyrese Haliburton (wrist). Haliburton is the Big 12 Conference’s third-leading scorer at 17.3 ppg. George Conditt added 12, including free throws with 48.6 seconds left for a 68-67 edge, and Terrence Lewis scored 10 points.
Florida A&M gave early notice that this would not be a walkover game, taking a 9-7 lead to the first media timeout about five minutes in.
The Cyclones were able to make their best run of the game after that, rattling off a 17-2 spurt and establishing a 24-11 cushion when Bolton converted a transition layup at the 9:38 mark. But instead of taking the game up to the next level, they weren’t able to put the Rattlers away.
A 9-4 burst gave Florida A&M reason to believe at halftime. Melton’s short jumper with 19 seconds left allowed the visitors to head for the locker room trailing just 33-24. Iowa State led because it owned the rebounding 21-13 and carved out a 12-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
In the second half, though, Florida A&M posted a 16-13 rebounding edge and also topped Iowa State in points off turnovers, 13-7.
—Field Level Media