TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Lamar Twitty scored 21 points and Florida A&M survived a valiant comeback effort by Coppin State to defeat the Eagles 60-56 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play on Monday in Gaither Gymnasium.
Twitty and Dale Hughes combined to score 20 points in the first half as the Rattlers jumped out to a big early lead and then held on as the Eagles stormed back into the game.
Led by Hughes, who scored all 12 of his points in the first half, Florida A&M made 8-of-18 three-point attempts and held a 36-26 lead at the break.
The Eagles shot 47.6 percent from the floor in the second half and limited the Rattlers to only one three-point basket on their way to cutting the FAMU lead to one point late in the contest.
A tip-in by Harper and follow dunk by Coleman gave the Eagles a 16-14 lead with 12:01 to play in the first half.
Florida A&M (6-10, 4-1 MEAC) responded with a 15-0 run, fueled by three three-point baskets by Hughes, to take a 29-16 lead with 8:56 to play in the half.
Coleman ended the run with a conventional three-point play that brought Coppin State to within 29-19 with 8:06 to play.
David Buchanon and Twitty connected on back-to-back three-pointers giving the Rattlers their largest lead of the game at 35-19 with 6:50 left in the period.
A pair of layups by Mike Buckley
helped Coppin State close the deficit to 36-26 at the intermission.
McKee, who was held scoreless in the first half, connected on three free throws to open the second period bringing the Eagles to within 36-29 with 19:40 left.
Byron Taylor and Twitty hit back-to-back baskets increasing the lead to 40-29 with 18:21 remaining in the game.
Coppin State (3-15, 1-4 MEAC) answered with an 8-0 run, keyed by four points from Vince Goldsberry
, to get to within 40-37 with 15:30 remaining in the game.
A basket by Buchanon and a three-pointer by Twitty increased the lead to 45-37 with 10:26 left in the second half.
Twitty and McKee exchanged baskets on consecutive trips down the floor and the Rattlers maintained an eight-point lead with 6:54 to play.
Harper capped a 9-2 Coppin State run with back-to-back three-point baskets that brought the Eagles to within 51-50 with 4:11 to play.
The Eagles had three chances to tie or take the lead, but could not manage the go-ahead basket.
The Rattlers pushed the lead back to 57-51 before McKee drained a three-pointer to bring the Eagles within 57-54 with 1:17 remaining.
Yannick Crowder rebounded his own missed shot with 41 seconds to play and the Eagles were forced to foul.
Taylor made one of two free throws with 30 seconds remaining to up the lead to 58-54, but McKee scored on a short jumper bringing Coppin State to within 58-56 with 13 seconds left.
Twitty then made two free throws with nine seconds remaining to put the game away for the Rattlers.