Florida A&M became the latest massive underdog to defy the odds this NCAA men’s basketball season, stunning 25.5-point favorite Iowa State 70-68 on Tuesday night in Ames, Iowa, for their first win over a Power 5 opponent in school history.
Rod Melton Jr. scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half, and DJ Jones added 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting for the Rattlers (2-9), who are the fourth underdog of at least 25 points to win this season. The others are Stephen F. Austin, which beat Duke as a 27.5-point underdog; Charleston Southern, which beat Missouri as a 26-point underdog; and Evansville, which beat Kentucky as a 25-point underdog.
The Rattlers, who won their second straight game after opening the season with nine consecutive losses, entered Tuesday night’s game with just a 1.3% chance to defeat the Cyclones, according to BPI, making it the biggest BPI upset on record (since 2007-08).
Florida A&M also ended an 0-106 winless streak against major conference teams since the 1984-85 season, which was tied for the third-longest such streak in Division I over that span, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.
Iowa State (7-5), which was without leading scorer Tyrese Haliburton (17.3 points per game) due to a wrist injury, led by as many as 13 points in the first half and took a 36-24 lead when Rasir Bolton hit a 3-pointer 22 seconds after halftime.
Melton scored six points during a 13-2 run that gave FAMU a 44-42 lead with 12 minutes to play. Bolton made another 3 before George Conditt hit two free throws to give the Cyclones a one-point lead with 48 seconds remaining. But Melton made a jumper and, after an Iowa State turnover, Randolph made 1 of 2 free throws to seal it.
The Rattlers, who were picked to finish ninth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, put together a big second half to pull off the upset, shooting 57.6% from the field and scoring 13 points off 10 Iowa State turnovers.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.