NEW YORK, N.Y. - Hampton bolted out to an early lead and used its talent, experience and depth to overpower Howard, 65-31 in the Big Apple Classic at Madison Square Garden. The Pirates (4-3 overall, 1-0 in the MEAC) avenged last year's loss to the Bison in the Classic by jumping out to an 11-3 lead and finishing the half with a 28-13 advantage. It was a clear case of experienced versus youth as Hampton parlayed the all-around scoring of All-MEAC senior guard Rashad West and its deep and talented bench to limit the Bison to 26 percent shooting ( 5 of 19) while forcing 13 first half turnovers.
"The turnovers were a big part of the game," said Howard Coach Gil Jackson. "You can't turn the ball over like that against a team the quality of Hampton and expect to have a chance to win. But that was not the only problem. We had problems on offense in execution and on defense."
The Pirates are the pre-season favorites and they are on a three-game win streak, including a road win over Delaware and a home win over Virginia Commonwealth. They did not shoot the ball well overall, but their dominance on the boards (52-27) and the ability to convert turnovers (25) into east baskets (26 points), made up for a 38 percent shooting effort.
"The game plan was to take away some of things they have been doing and take them out of their element," said Hampton second year Coach Kevin Nickelberry. "Last year, we played at their tempo and it costs us. In tonight's game, we were able to dictate tempo early and that was the difference."
The Pirates were especially successful with Bison leading scorer Eugene Myatt, who torched them for 28 points in last year's win. The 6-5 junior finished with only seven points, almost 13 under his average. It was also the first time this season that he has failed to reach double figures.
Junior forward Randy Hampton, sophomore forward Kandi Mukole, freshman forward Adam Walker and the team's only senior Jeron Smith, were all coming off big efforts in the home win over Navy. Against the Pirates, they combined for 9 points and 12 turnovers.
The Pirates used their bench liberally as 11 players scored. Led by their seniors West and Adrian Woodard, Hampton recorded 16 assists on its 25 field goals. Matt Pilgrim contributed 11 points while Michael Freeman and Vincent Simpson added 8 and 7 respectively.
Sophomore center Paul Kirkpatrick led the Bison with a season-high 10 points as no other player reached double figures. A bright spot for Howard was the 7 blocked shots, giving the team 40 on the season.
NEXT UP: Hampton travels to Fairfax, VA on Wednesday to take on the Patriots of George Mason University at 7 pm while the Bison travel across town to take on the Eagles of American University on Tuesday at 7 pm in Bender Arena.