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Norfolk State 62, Hampton 59

The SportsXchange

HAMPTON, Va. -- The last time Hampton lost, it was to Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference co-leaders Norfolk State. After that, the Pirates went on a five-game winning streak, including two overtime victories.

The Spartans completed a sweep of the Pirates on Monday, overcoming a sluggish start to pull out a 62-59 Battle of the Bay win before a spirited crowd at the HU Convocation Center.

Malcolm Hawkins led the way for the Spartans (17-10, 12-0 MEAC) with 18 points. Rashid Gaston added 17, and Pendarvis Williams had 11.

Du'Vaughn Maxwell had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Pirates (10-14, 7-4). Ramon Mercado also had 12 points.

The Spartans shot 41.4 percent from the field (24 of 58), but were just 11 of 22 from the free-throw line, keeping the Pirates in the game. Hampton shot just 30.4 percent from the field (21 of 69).

Hampton led by as many as seven points in the first half, and the game was tied 32-32 at halftime, but the Spartans opened a 14-point second half lead and seemingly had the game in hand.

However, the Pirates did not surrender easily, going on an 11-0 run to close the lead to 59-58 with under three minutes remaining. Maxwell's baby hook shot pulled Hampton within one. The Pirates held on the next Spartans possession and had a chance to take the lead, only for Wesley Dunning to miss an open layup.

However, Dunning came up with a big defensive play on the Spartans' next possession, blocking a shot. Mercado then had a chance to tie or give the Pirates the lead, but he missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

Williams then made one of two free throws to give the Spartans a 60-58 lead.

The Pirates' Deron Powers made one of two foul shots to slice the lead to one with 56.9 seconds left.

Hawkins hit a layup with 27 seconds left to give the Spartans a 62-59 lead.

Hampton's Ke'Ron Brown missed a 3-pointer and stepped out of bounds on a second attempt with eight seconds left.

After a quick turnover, the Pirates inbounded the ball to Mercado, who missed a 3-pointer from the right corner.

The Spartans' Rob Johnson grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled, but befitting the team's struggles from the line, missed two free throws, giving the Pirates one last chance with less than 4 seconds left. However, Powers was unable to get off a desperation attempt before the buzzer.

The Pirates started the game with more energy, if not accuracy, starting out 1-for-10 from the field but gaining an early lead from the free-throw line.

The Spartans shot 42 percent (13-for-31) in the first half, while the Pirates shot just 31 percent (11-for-36).

Maxwell, continuing where he left off in a 29-point effort during a win over Delaware State, opened the game strong. He had eight first-half points, including two on a left-handed put-back dunk to give the Pirates a 14-9 lead.

Guard Aaron Austin, whose improved play has gained him a starting spot and more minutes, led the Pirates in the first half with nine points, six rebounds and three assists.

Hawkins scored a team-high 11 points in the first half, shooting 4-for-7. Gaston had eight points and Williams had seven for Norfolk State before the break.

Norfolk State didn't take its first lead of the game until 2:47 remained in the half, going up 32-30. Austin made a layup with 6.9 seconds left to tie the game going into intermission.

NOTES: Norfolk State won the teams' previous matchup in Norfolk, 74-67, on Jan. 26. ... Maxwell was selected the MEAC player of the week. ... Monday's game was televised on ESPNU.
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