Alabama A&M

AAMU knocks off FAMU, preps for top SWAC squad

Alabama A&M passed a huge hurdle in getting by FAMU in the SWAC quarterfinals. Now it wants to see how far it can go.

It’s been a long time since Alabama A&M won a SWAC Tournament game, but that drought is now over.

AAMU knocked off Florida A&M 61-56 on Thursday night to advance to the semifinals of the SWAC Tournament. It is AAMU’s first appearance in the SWAC semifinals since 2014.

Head coach Dylan Howard said that as far back as last summer, he told the team his goal was to be here.

“I’ve told them that our goal was to not only make the first tournament — but to definitely win that first round,” Howard said after the game. “And then from there, just be ready for round two and hopefully round three. But they’ve worked so hard for this moment. We had a good regular season, but I told them this is a new season now.”

Jalen Johnson led the way with 15 points and nine rebounds for AAMU while Garrett Hicks and Dailin Smith both scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds each. AAMU out rebounded FAMU 50-36.

AAMU also had the tough task of guarding FAMU’s M.J. Randolph, the newly minted SWAC Player of the Year. He got 20 points but took 20 shots to get them. FAMU shot just 34.3 percent overall for the game and just 22.2 percent from the 3-point line. 

“He does a great job of using his body to get open and uses his body to get all kinds of different angles to create shots, so he was definitely one of our main focuses,” Howard said of guarding Randolph. “But team defense is what won it.”

Now all AAMU has to do is to try to knock off top seed Alcorn State on Friday for a shot at the SWAC title game. Howard says it’s a testament to the growth of the players in his program that they’ve made it this far.

“I’ve had these guys ever since they were freshmen. I recruited high school players, prep school players,” he said. “Everyone across the nation they’re doing the transfers, hitting that transfer portal hard. But we’ve been able to groom this group ever since they were freshmen. So the confidence is there.”

AAMU knocks off FAMU, preps for top SWAC squad
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