ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Winthrop held off visiting Hampton 50-43 Sunday afternoon in a battle of two offensively anemic squads.
Winthrop and Hampton combined to shoot 33-of-116 (28 percent), but it was the Eagles who mustered the big buckets down the stretch to improve to 6-5 on the year.
Emmanuel Okoroba's deuce inside gave the Pirates (2-9) their only lead of the game at 43-42 with 4 minutes left.
But Winthrop's Derrick Henry immediately responded with a 3-pointer, and the Eagles outscored Hampton 8-0 in the remaining time to hand Hampton its seventh loss this season by 10 or fewer points.
Winthrop's Gideon Gamble led all scorers with 13 points to go with 10 rebounds, while Ramon Mercado was Hampton's lone double-digit scorer with 10.
Crucially in a game with 83 missed shots, Winthrop outrebounded the Pirates 52-38, including 16 offensive boards that breathed life into otherwise dead possessions.
Both teams struggled mightily to score in the first half. Hampton only mustered one two-point field goal the first 20 minutes, relying instead on 5-of-14 three-point shooting to stay competitive. They fell behind early when Gamble knocked in a pair of quick threes to put Winthrop up 8-1 at the first media timeout.
Mercado stepped into a 26-foot 3-pointer to make it 14-10, but the Eagles scored nine of the next 10 points to build a 23-11 lead with just over 5 minutes left in the first half.
Typical of the offensive struggles, the hosts didn't score another field goal until the second half. A slashing layup by Reggie Price punctuated a quick 7-0 Hampton spurt and Mercado's third triple of the first half cut the Eagles' lead to 23-21.
Hampton went scoreless for 3 early minutes of the second half as Winthrop built a nine-point lead (37-28). Gamble dropped in a baseline floater and then buried a corner three after Larry Brown slapped a loose ball his way.
Hampton got back in the game though, thanks to another barren Winthrop offensive span. Brown was ejected for a flagrant elbow with over 9 minutes left and fellow big man Steve Johnson went down with his fourth foul seconds later, and the Pirates took advantage.
Okoroba knocked in a pair of freebies and Du'Vaughn Maxwell flew in for a fine reverse layup. The score was then tied 38-38 when Jasper Williams bombed in a deep 3-pointer with 7:30 left.