SAVANNAH, GA-The Hampton University men's basketball team looked like it felt right at home in Tiger Arena Saturday evening, withstanding a couple Savannah State runs to emerge with an 80-71 win. The win snapped a two-game skid for the Pirates (9-10, 4-2 MEAC).
Senior forward Du'Vaughn Maxwell led three Pirates in double figures with 21 points on 9-for-18 shooting, and he fell one rebound shy of his third double-double of the season. Sophomore guard Brian Darden added 17 points. Sophomore guard Breon Key came off the bench to score a season-high 14 points.
A Jyles Smith dunk with 5:12 left in the game cut the Pirates' lead to 66-60, but Hampton withstood the pressure with a 6-1 run that ended with a dunk from Maxwell to put the Pirates up 72-61 with 2:15 left to play. Key added a free throw with 1:38 left to give Hampton a 74-63 lead.
Savannah State answered with an 8-2 run, cutting the Pirates' lead to 76-71 with 38 seconds left after a clutch 3-pointer from Jeremiah Hill. But the Pirates hit all four of their free throws down the stretch – all from Key, who went 8-for-11 from the charity stripe – to ice their second MEAC road win.
The Pirates led for most of the game, despite being tied 2-2 early – mostly because Hampton answered that with a 7-0 run to take a 9-2 lead with 16:56 left in the first half after a layup from sophomore guard Ke'Ron Brown. Darden added a 3-pointer at the 14:57 mark to put Hampton up 15-4.
Savannah State scored 10 of the next 13 points, cutting Hampton's lead to 18-14 with 11:44 left in the half following a jumper from Patrick Hedley. The Pirates scored the next seven points after that, taking a 25-14 lead at the 8:33 mark after a Maxwell jumper.
Sophomore guard Deron Powers hit two free throws at the 4:58 mark to give the Pirates their largest lead of the half, 33-21, before Savannah State went on a 13-1 run to tie the game at 34-34 on a Deven Williams free throw with 17 seconds left. A Maxwell layup 15 seconds later sent the Pirates into the intermission with a 36-34 lead.
Savannah State opened the second half with an 8-2 run to take a 42-38 lead with 17:24 left, before the Pirates answered with a 10-0 run, taking a 48-42 lead with 15:01 remaining after a jumper from Maxwell.
After the Tigers cut the lead to 48-45, the Pirates scored the next seven points to take a 55-45 lead after a free throw from junior center Emmanuel Okoroba with 11:35 left to play. Sophomore guard Dwight Meikle added a trey with 9:24 left to put Hampton up 58-48.
The Tigers scored the next five points, cutting the lead to 58-53 with 8:48 left, but another 10-0 Hampton run put the Pirates up 63-53 with 8:00 left after Key hit a pair of free throws. Alante Fenner hit a layup with 7:28 left to cut that lead to 63-58, but the Tigers never sustained a long run to catch the Pirates.
The Pirates shot 40.0 percent (24-for-60) from the floor and hit four of their 13 3-pointers (30.8 percent). On top of out-rebounding the Tigers 47-42, Hampton also hit 28 of 44 free throws (63.6 percent) and turned 19 Savannah State turnovers into 15 points.