Hampton jumped out to a 19-3 lead in just over four minutes and rode that early cushion to a 77-69 victory over William & Mary on Friday night in a season opener.
The visiting Tribe managed to cut the deficit to five points by halftime and, after falling behind by 14 points with just over eight minutes left, closed to within five points again late in the game.
With less than three minutes left, the Pirates led 67-62 but then outscored the Tribe 10-7 the rest of the way.
Balanced scoring and 3-point shooting were key factors for Hampton.
The Pirates had four players in double figures, led sophomore guard Brian Darden, a transfer from Radford, with 18 points and junior center Emmanuel Okoroba with 17 points. Senior forward Du'Vaughn Maxwell chipped in with 12 and sophomore guard Dwight Meikie added 10 off the bench.
William & Mary junior guard Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 21 points, but the Tribe had only two other players in double figures. Freshman guard-forward Omar Prewitt added 15 points and sophomore guard Terry Tarpey had 11.
Hampton made 26 of 51 shots from the field and was 6 of 12 from behind the 3-point arc. William & Mary shot 42 percent from the field and was 6 of 20 from 3-point range.