HAMPTON, Va. – For nearly 33 minutes Monday night, the Hampton University men’s basketball team couldn’t buy a basket – or a free throw. But a late run propelled the Pirates past Maryland Eastern Shore 71-65 at the HU Convocation Center.
The Pirates (13-11, 8-3 MEAC) kept themselves in the thick of the MEAC race.
Senior forward Du’Vaughn Maxwell (Manhattan, N.Y.), the reigning MEAC Player of the Week, led the Pirates with 17 points anmd 14 rebounds, recording his fourth double-double of the season. Senior guard Ramon Mercado (Hollywood, Fla.) added 13 points behind three 3-pointers.
Sophomore guard Ke’Ron Brown (Savannah, Ga.) added 11 points.
Mercado hit two free throws with 7:22 left in the second half to cut UMES’ lead to 53-50, then he tied the game at 54-54 with a corner trey at the 5:35 mark. Junior center Emmanuel Okoroba (Garland, Texas) then went 1-for-2 at the free throw line to put Hampton up 55-54 with 5:10 left.
Another Mercado trey with 4:45 left put the Pirates up 58-54, then sophomore guard Breon Key (Hampton, Va.) hit a breakaway layup with 4:00 left in the game to put Hampton up 61-54 and cap a 15-1 Pirates run.
UMES went from 10:41 to the 3:13 mark of the second half without a field goal.
The Hawks cut the lead to 61-57 with 3:13 left on a Hakeem Baxter layup, before Maxwell hit a floater at the 2:45 mark to give the Pirates a 63-57 lead.
Key added a jumper with 1:50 left to give Hampton a 65-59 lead, before Baxter cut into that gap with a trey on the next possession. Meikle answered with a dunk with a minute left to put the Pirates up 67-62, before Baxter hit another 3-pointer.
Sophomore guard Deron Powers (Williamsburg, Va.) answered with a strong drive to the lane, hitting the open layup with 16 seconds left to put the Pirates up 69-65.
Baxter drove into the lane, but was blocked by Meikle with 10 seconds left, before Brown hit two free throws to give the Pirates a 71-65 lead – and the win.
UMES had just four field goals in the final 10:41.
The Pirates led 11-9 after a layup from Pressley with 16:17 left in the first half, before UMES rattled off six straight points to take a 15-11 lead after a jumper from Francis Ezeiru at the 13:57 mark.
Maxwell tied the game at 19-19 with a tip-in with 7:35 left in the half, but the Hawks went on an 11-1 run, taking a 30-20 lead with 3:49 left in the half after a 3-pointer from Pina Guillaume. UMES held the Pirates off for the remainder of the half, but Meikle hit a jumper with 59 seconds left to cut UMES’ edge to 34-27.
The Hawks took that lead into the half, thanks to 15 points from KyRee Jones.
UMES took a 43-32 lead with 15:26 left in the second half after Jones nailed a deep 3-pointer, before the Pirates scored the next six points to cut the lead to 43-38 after a breakaway layup from Brown with 13:11 left.
Hampton shot 43.8 percent (28-for-64) from the floor – buoyed by a 16-for-30 effort in the second half – despite going just 4-for-18 (22.2 percent) from behind the arc. The Pirates also held a 43-34 edge on the glass.
UMES (3-18, 1-8 MEAC) shot 33.3 percent (16-for-48) from the floor, but struggled to a 6-for-23 clip in the second half.
Jones led UMES with 27 points.