HAMPTON, Va. – The Hampton University men’s basketball team used a strong second half to run away from North Carolina A&T Thursday night at the HU Convocation Center, ending the regular season with an 89-71 win.
The Pirates (18-11, 13-3 MEAC) have won seven straight games and 10 of their last 11.
Sophomore guard Deron Powers (Williamsburg, Va.) led the way with 20 points for his third straight 20-point effort, hitting four 3-pointers and going 6-for-10 from the floor. Sophomore guards Brian Darden (Hampton, Va.) and Dwight Meikle (Baltimore, Md.) each added 13 points.
Senior forward Du’Vaughn Maxwell (Manhattan, N.Y.) had 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds in his final home game.
Maxwell hit a layup with 14:56 left in the first half to put the Pirates up 8-4, before the Aggies scored the next five points to take a 9-8 lead. That was indicative of the entire first half, a back-and-forth affair in which not many shots were missed.
From 13:36 to 12:27, Darden hit back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers, but the Aggies kept answering on the other end, so when Darden hit his third trey, it only gave the Pirates a 17-15 lead.
N.C. A&T led 27-24 after a pair of Jeremy Underwood free throws with 7:45 left in the half, but the Pirates went on a 6-2 spurt to take a 30-29 lead with 5:13 left in the half following a free throw from sophomore guard Ke’Ron Brown (Savannah, Ga.).
Lamont Middleton gave the Aggies a 32-31 lead with two free throws at the 4:20 mark, before the Pirates scored eight of the next 11 points, taking a 39-35 lead on a dunk from sophomore guard Breon Key (Hampton, Va.) at the 3:00 mark.
A Maxwell dunk with 18 seconds left sent the Pirates into the half with a 45-40 lead.
Darden led all scorers with 11 first-half points.
The Aggies cut the lead to 45-43 to open the second half, before sophomore forward Jervon Pressley (Charlotte, N.C.) scored on a tip-in that kicked off an 11-4 run for the Pirates – and when Brown cleaned up a Key miss with 16:00 left, it gave the Pirates a 56-47 lead.
A trey from senior guard Ramon Mercado (Hollywood, Fla.) with 15:22 left made the run 14-4 and put the Pirates up 59-47.
But the Pirates weren’t done making their point; Mercado drove the lane for a one-handed flush at the 11:53 mark to give Hampton a 65-52 lead, then Maxwell did the same thing with 10:24 left to put the Pirates up 67-56.
After Bruce Beckford received two technical fouls and was ejected with 9:57 left to play, Powers hit three of four free throws to give Hampton a 70-56 lead.
Powers added back-to-back 3-pointers to give Hampton a 76-59 lead with 7:51 to play.
Powers’ second trey kicked off an 11-0 Pirates run, and Powers hit a jumper with 4:20 left to put Hampton up 84-59 and effectively ice the game; not even a game-ending 12-5 run from N.C. A&T could change the outcome.
The Aggies (9-22, 5-11 MEAC) went from the 11:06 mark of the second half to 3:29 without a field goal.
The Pirates shot 51.9 percent (28-for-54) from the floor and hit 10 of their 20 3-pointers.
N.C. A&T shot 40.4 percent (21-for-52) from the floor and hit seven of 17 3-pointers (41.2 percent) – though the Aggies did outrebound the Pirates 37-33.
Richaud Pack led the Aggies with 14 points.
The Pirates will go into the 2014 MEAC Tournament (Monday through Saturday at the Norfolk Scope) as the No. 2 seed, earning a first-round bye and a quarterfinal match-up on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
On a night where the seniors had the spotlight at the HU Convocation Center, the Hampton University women’s basketball team survived a 54-51 win over North Carolina A&T on Thursday thanks to a freshman.
Senior forward Alyssa Bennett (Hampton, Va.) led the way with 18 points in her final home game. Senior guard Nicole Hamilton (Hampton, Va.) added eight points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals.