NORFOLK, Va. — Senior Derrik Jamerson Jr. scored 21 points for the second straight game, leading the Norfolk State men's basketball team to a 72-62 win over Florida A&M on Monday night at Joseph Echols Hall. Jamerson made 8-of-11 from the field, 4-of-6 from deep, with five rebounds to help the Spartans to a sweep of their opening MEAC weekend. They shot 49 percent as a team and improved to 2-0 in the conference, 7-10 overall.
He was one of three players in double figures for NSU, which led all of the second half after using a run at the end of the first to take the lead into the locker room. That erased a Rattler eight-point advantage in the last five minutes of the period. Later in the second, FAMU (4-11, 1-1 MEAC) was able to tie the score with less than eight minutes to go before the Spartans pulled ahead for good.
In addition to Jamerson, senior Armani Branch had a season-high 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting, scoring 11 of those points in the first half. Senior Jordan Butler had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds with three blocks, and junior Steven Whitley tallied nine points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The contest did not start off very clean. Turnovers were more prevalent than scoring in the first part of the game. NSU trailed 8-5 after the first eight and a half minutes until Branch had a couple of treys from the right corner during a 9-0 run that made it 14-8 a little more than halfway through the period.
But the Rattlers had an answer, using an 18-4 run to surge ahead by eight with 5:25 on the clock, their largest lead of the game. Branch's 3-point play ended that run, and the Spartans later closed the half on a 13-0 spurt to go up 37-31 heading into the locker room. Butler had six points during that time, and Whitley closed it out with two layups in the last minute of play.
The Spartans ultimately outscored the Rattlers 19-5 in the first half after FAMU took its eight-point advantage. A couple of buckets by Jamerson pushed the lead to nine several minutes into the second half. That began a larger 11-2 run that made it a 52-39 game with 10:44 left in the contest, NSU's largest margin of the night. But after the snap of a finger, the Rattlers started a 13-0 run that tied the score at 52-all. A minute and a half later, Jamerson's fourth 3-pointer of the game put NSU back up by five. The Spartans went ahead by 10 after that and were not threatened the rest of the way.
NSU shot 24-of-49 from the floor, including 7-of-19 from 3-point range. The Rattlers had four players in double figures, with D.J. Jones posting 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting with six rebounds. Both Kamron Reaves and Nasir Cole each added 12 points, and the team's leading scorer, Justin Ravenel, added 11. FAMU shot 7-of-15 from deep but just 41 percent overall.