|No. 6 Hampton Defeats Delaware State MEAC Tourney Title||< All News|
|Saturday, March 14, 2015|
NORFOLK, Va. --- Reginald Johnson and Brian Darden each scored 20 points and Deron Powers added 16 to lead Hampton University to an 82-61 win over Delaware State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship at the Norfolk Scope.
As a result, the Pirates (16-17), the Number 6 seed, receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The pairings will be announced on Sunday.
The game was a battle royale in the first 20 minutes and featured seven ties and six lead changes. The Hornets (17-16), the Number 5 seed, jumped out to the early 15-6 lead on the scoring of Tyshwan Bell. But the Pirates settled down and went on an 11-2 run to tie the game at 17.
From there, it turned into toe-to-toe battle as Johnson led the way with 14 first half points to help Hampton stay close. The score was deadlocked at 32 at the break.
The two teams continued to battle in the early stages of the second half as neither was able to put any distance between them. That is when Hampton reeled off an 8-0 run over a three-minute that would prove to be crucial. Delaware State had to play uphill from there.
“There is always a point in a game like that where you need some separation,” said Hampton head coach Edward “Buck” Joyner. “It gave us a chance to exhale. It was definitely a key.”
The Pirates three guards, Powers, Johnson and Darden began to take turns hitting three pointers and the Hornets had no answer. The triumvirate of juniors recorded eight treys among them.
“Their guards picked us apart,” said Delaware State coach Keith Walker. “They had great spacing and were able to get good looks.
Amere May, the Hornets’ first team All-MEAC selection and the conference leading scorer was coming off a 27-point effort against Number 1 seed Delaware State on Friday. But with starting point guard Kendall Williams hampered by a high ankle sprain, the Pirates were able to focus on the talented May, who was thrust into the point guard position; it proved to be effective in disrupting the Delaware State’s offense.
“They knew of our troubles at that position and they exploited it,” said Walker. “We had trouble getting into our offensive sets. That is what they are supposed to do.”
Added Joyner. “We wanted to make sure that we did all we could to take May out of the game,” explained Joyner. “We made it difficult for him to do the things he is usually comfortable with. I thought we did a great job on him and also on Tyshwan Bell in the second half.”
Bell scored 10 points, all in the first half while May finished with 20, 15 after intermission, but he missed nine of 15 and had four turnovers.
“My hats are off to Hampton,” credited May. “They did a good on me. It seemed like there was always someone helping out on me. Give them credit.”
Both teams were playing their third game in three days. The Pirates utilized more of their bench and it appeared to make a difference.
Ke’Ron Brown, Charles Wilson-Fisher and Emmanuel Okoroba, along with Jervon Pressley combined for 18 points and 14 rebounds.
“We probably would not be here if not for those four players,” said Joyner. “I know that the three guards had 56 points, but sometimes it is the other players who do the rebounding, defense and little things that help win championships. I thought those guys did a great job, especially on Kendall Gray.”
Gray, the MEAC Player and Defensive Player of the Year, who averaged 13 points and 12 rebounds, finished with six points and six rebounds before fouling out.
2015 MEAC Men’s Basketball All-Tournament Team
Jordan Parks, North Carolina Central
Edward Stephens, South Carolina State
Tyshawn Bell, Delaware State
Reginald Johnson, Hampton
Deron Powers, Hampton
Tournament Most Outstanding Performer
Deron Powers, Hampton
Tournament Most Outstanding Coach
Edward Joyner, Jr., Hampton