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Powers leads Hampton to 70-64 win over Quinnipiac

The SportsXchange

HAMPTON, Va. -- Freshman Deron Powers scored 16 points, including six in a row late in the game, to lead Hampton to a 70-64 win over Quinnipiac at the HU Convocation Center on Monday night.

Powers, who also had 10 assists, showed he's not afraid to make plays late in the game. After the Bobcats' Dave Johnson made a jumper to tie the game at 60 with 2:43 left, Powers' six points put the Pirates up by six with 28 seconds left.

Evan Conti made a long 3-pointer for the Bobcats to cut the lead to three with 17.8 seconds left, but the Pirates held on from the free-throw line for their third straight win.

"I know it's a lot on Deron, but we're asking him to lead the team not only physically and everything else, but emotionally," Pirates coach Ed Joyner Jr. said. "Hopefully he can stay that way. One thing I like about him is that he's an even-keeled young man -- never too high and never too low."

Emmanuel Okoroba had 16 points, and Jasper Williams added 15 for the Pirates, with 12 of Williams' points coming on 3-pointers.

"In the first half, I still wasn't loose enough; my knee was hurting a little bit," Okoroba said. "I feel like I'm getting back to where I'm probably about 80 percent."

Hampton's Du'Vaughn Maxwell added eight points, including two dunks, and he added 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.

"When Du'Vaughn came to us, we felt like he could be an emotional leader for us, not just by his play, but by just everything that he does, his person," Joyner said. "Now he's being that. He's the guy that gets everybody going."

Hampton once again struggled from the field, making just 34 percent of its shots (20 of 59). Quinnipiac didn't shoot much better, finishing at 36 percent (22 of 61).

The win for the Pirates (5-10) was their third straight, following close wins against James Madison and Howard with another against the Bobcats (5-11), who lost for the fourth time in five games.

In both halves, the Pirates established their inside game by feeding Okofora in the low post while Williams opened things up with his outside shooting.

Ike Azotam had 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bobcats, while Shaq Shannon added 11 points and Zaid Hearst had 10.

Williams started hot for the Pirates from behind the arc. After Okoroba opened the game with a basket, Williams drained three straight 3-pointers to put the Pirates up 11-3 with 15:50 in the first half.

Then Shannon warmed up from long range, draining two straight 3-pointers to give the Bobcats an 18-17 lead at the 7:36 mark.

Williams, who had 12 first half points on 4-of-5 shooting, continued his strong play, going coast to coast for a layup and drawing a foul, converting the free throw to put the Pirates up 22-20 with 5:02 remaining.

After an Azotam jumper tied the game, the Pirates scored five straight points, the last coming on a Ramon Mercado 3-pointer, but the Bobcats pulled within 29-28 at halftime.

Neither team shot the ball well in the opening half, with the Pirates making just 31 percent (10 of 32) and the Bobcats 36 percent (9 of 25).

Although the Bobcats got just five points from their starters in the opening 20 minutes, they got 22 off the bench.

Bobcats coach Tom Moore blamed poor shot selection as a key in their loss.

"It's a credit to Hampton's defense," Moore said. "They dig in 22 feet and in, but we also just took some (shots) way too early, rushing jump shots that weren't good shots.

"Powers is really, really good for a freshman. He's really blossoming. I don't know what coach Joyner's expectations were for him coming into the season, but statistically, it's always fun to watch a freshman grow that quick. It wasn't fun for us tonight."

In the second half, Williams started where he left off, opening with a fadeaway 3-pointer. But the Bobcats warmed up from outside, as Johnson and Shannon made consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game at 36 with 16:36 remaining.

The two teams stayed close to each other throughout the second half, with Maxwell putting down an emphatic dunk to put the Pirates up 56-53 at the 6:13 mark.

And, while the Bobcats had chances to take the lead, they never did, though they did tie the game at 60 on a Johnson jumper with 2:43 remaining.

The Pirates had just enough to hang on.

With their third close win in a row, the Pirates will have a boost heading into MEAC play.

"We may not do everything great, but we're getting the key stops, the key rebounds and the key free throws when we need it," Joyner said. "So hopefully we can keep that going."

NOTES: The game represented the first time the two schools have played each other. ... Both teams share American as a common opponent this season, with Hampton picking up a 72-65 win and Quinnipiac falling 61-55. ... Monday night was the Bobcats' last non-conference game of the regular season and the opener of a three-game road trip. ... This was the first of three straight at home for the Pirates.
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