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Okoroba's shot helps Hampton come back to stun Morgan State

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Hampton forward Emmanuel Okoroba was the second or third option on the final inbounds play for the Pirates here Saturday.

But he ended up with his first college game-winner as his basket at the buzzer lifted Hampton to a 64-62 win over Morgan State in a MEAC contest.

The Pirates (7-13, 4-3 MEAC) trailed 59-45 with 8:04 left in the game before mounting a comeback to stun Morgan State (6-12, 3-4).

Okoroba took an inbounds pass with .5 seconds left from reserve Ke'Ron Brown in the lane for the winning basket.

"I just jumped and turned and shot," said Okoroba, who was swarmed on the court after his shot by the Pirates. "I told Ke'Ron to look for me during the timeout."

"I don't know how he got it up," said Hampton coach Edward Joyner, Jr. "That is a play we practice every day. We deserved this one."

Okoroba said it was his first game-winning shot since high school, when he was also not the first option for a last-second play.

The 6-foot-8 redshirt sophomore forward from Texas had a game-high 18 points while Deron Powers added 17 and Du'Vaughn Maxwell had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Pirates, who allowed 14 offensive rebounds in the first half and 21 overall but still won.

"It definitely means a lot," Powers said. "To me we have had too many losing streaks. We had to get a win. We came out sluggish. We came out and worked hard in the second half. (Morgan State) took the foot off the gas (in the second half). We kept coming at them."

The game appeared to be headed to overtime but Morgan State's Justin Black was called for walking while trying to get off a shot near halfcourt in the final second.

Hampton's Ramon Mercado, who was benched by an irate Joyner, Jr. in the second half for a silly foul, stepped in front of Black to try and draw a charge but the referee called walking. That set up the game-winning shot by Hampton, which won despite making 22 turnovers with only five assists.

Black had 15 for Morgan and Chiles had 14 - Hubbard led with 16

Anthony Hubbard had 16 points, Black had 15 and Ian Chiles had 14 for Morgan State, which was 7 of 21 from the foul line. But Black and Hubbard combined for just six points in the second half.

The Bears led 36-27 at halftime and took a 48-36 lead midway through the second. Morgan State took a 52-39 lead on a dunk by center Chiles with 12:44 to go.

Powers tied the game with a basket with 1.2 seconds after Donte Pretlow made one of two free throws for Morgan State four seconds to go to give the hosts a 62-60 lead.

Hampton had a three-on-one break early in the second half when Mercado was called for a foul that sent Hubbard to the foul line.

Joyner, Jr. pulled Mercado out of the game, pointing out the mistake he made with the Pirates on a fast break.

Morgan State took a 25-15 lead midway through the first half on a basket by DeWayne Jackson.

Hampton battled back and pulled to within 25-23 on two free throws by Powers.

But Black hit two baskets in a row for Morgan State to make the score 33-27 and a basket by Blake Bozeman, a sophomore and son of Bears' coach Todd Bozeman, gave the hosts a 36-27 lead at halftime as Black had 13 points and Hubbard had 12 at the break.

NOTES: Next up for the Pirates is a game at Coppin State in Baltimore on Monday while Morgan State is at Norfolk State on Monday. ... Norfolk State beat Hampton on Jan. 26. ... Dwight Meikle, who is from Baltimore, had eight boards off the bench for Hampton. Brown also had eight rebounds off the bench.
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