HAMPTON, Va. -- After shooting even more anemic than normal in the opening 20 minutes, Hampton heated up and erased a nine-point halftime deficit. However, Jasper Williams missed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer for the Pirates, and, powered by Dewayne Jackson's game-high 24 points, Morgan State escaped with an 80-78 win Saturday.
Despite shooting just 26 percent (8 of 31) in the first half, the Pirates (5-11, 2-1 MEAC) stayed in the game by going a perfect 14 of 14 from the free throw line in the half (31 of 36 overall).
Besides Jackson's output, the Bears (5-9, 2-1 MEAC) got 13 points from Anthony Hubbard, 12 from Justin Black and 10 from 7-foot-2 center Ian Chiles.
Two free throws from Emmanuel Okoroba gave the Pirates a 76-75 lead with 2:54 remaining. Jackson's layup then restored the Bears' advantage. A Donte Pretlow free throw with 42 seconds left gave the Bears an 80-77 advantage.
Du'Vaughn Maxwell then made 1 of 2 free throws for the Pirates to cut the Bears' lead to 80-78 with 4.4 seconds left. Two missed free throws by the Bears' Blake Bozeman gave the Pirates one last chance, but Williams missed a long contested 3-pointer off the side of the rim.
The Pirates came out of the locker room a different team in the second half, making 9 of 14 shots and cutting the Morgan State lead to 45-42 after Deron Powers converted on a 3-point play with 16:58 left.
The Bears' Jackson responded, making a 3-pointer from the corner, after which he taunted the home crowd, shouting, "Let's go, Hampton."
It didn't faze the Pirates, as Maxwell converted a layup and Williams a 3-pointer¬ -- both coming on Powers assists -- to trim the Bears' lead to 51-49.
A Maxwell dunk tied the game at 53 with 12:40 left. Seconds later, the two teams came together, with a technical being called on the Bears' Tauron Bailey. Two Williams free throws gave the Pirates their first lead since Powers' opening basket of the game.
A Williams 3-pointer then put the Pirates up 58-55.
Powers, who led the Pirates with his second consecutive double-double with 19 points and 10 assists, was aggressive in going to the basket, going a perfect 10 of 10 from the line in the first half and 12 of 13 overall. Okoroba added 15, nine of those coming from the line, while Williams had 13.
Two consecutive 3-pointers from Williams gave the Pirates a 61-57 advantage.
The game was tense throughout, with the two teams combining for four technical fouls, including one on Bears coach Todd Bozeman.
Nothing symbolized the Pirates' woes in the first half more than when Williams passed up an open 3-pointer only to bounce a pass off the head of Wesley Dunning.
However, Powers had a team high 12 points and Ramon Mercado made three 3-pointers, the last coming on a halftime buzzer-beater after making a steal of an inbounds pass.
Jackson, the Bears' leading scorer at 14.4 points per game, nearly hit his average by halftime with 14 points, while Hubbard had eight.
Though the Bears' Chiles had an obvious effect altering shots, the Pirates still took the ball inside, with mixed success.
Powers opened the game with a layup for the Pirates, while Okoroba missed two short attempts that Chiles altered.
The Pirates made just 3 of 13 attempts in the opening eight minutes; still, even as the Bears opened 6 of 12 from the field, they held just a 13-9 advantage.
After a Mercado 3-pointer with 11:38 left in the half, Bozeman earned a technical foul after entering the court to argue a call. Powers converted both technical free throws to tie the game at 14.
Black's 3-pointer restored the Bears' advantage, however, as they went on a 12-2 run to take a 26-16 lead, forcing Hampton coach Edward Joyner to call timeout with 8:46 left in the half. The Bears went up by 14 on a Blake Bozeman 3-pointer, but Powers and Mercado combined to cut the lead to single digits at the break.
NOTES: Hampton freshman Deron Powers, coming off a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists in a win Monday over Quinnipiac, is the current MEAC Rookie of the Week. ... Hampton came into Saturday's game leading the head-to-head series against Morgan State 39-27 and is 22-11 since moving up to Division I in 1995. ... Morgan State came into the game last in the MEAC in free throw shooting, making just 59.5 percent of its attempts. ... Hampton has averaged just 36.5 percent shooting from the field in its 15 games.