WASHINGTON, D.C. - Hampton University parlayed a game-high 20 points by Michael Freeman and some strong team defense into a 54-48 win over Howard University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's game at Burr Gymnasium. It was the regular season finale for both teams as they gear up for the conference tournament, March 10-14 at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The game resembled the first meeting between the two rivals when the Pirates ground out an ugly 45-39 win at Madison Square Garden back on December 6. Hampton was able to take a 25-23 lead at the half despite shooting only 29 percent. Freeman led the way with eight points.
"They got the tempo they wanted," said Howard Coach Gil Jackson. "We can't play at that tempo and be effective. That has a lot to do with the experience factor."
The Pirates' defense was especially effective in limiting Bison leading scorer and MEAC Player of the week Eugene Myatt to 3-of-17 shooting from the field.
"I give them all the credit; they never let up off of me," said Myatt, who had 56 points in the past two games. "Whenever I was open, they ran out on me. They did a great job of staying with me." Myatt came into the game averaging 17 points per game.
Hampton was also very effective in forcing the Bison out of their shooting range and took advantage of Howard miscues. The Bison missed 15 of their 3-point attempts and allowed 16 points off turnovers.
Freeman was the only Pirate scoring threat, with half of his points coming from the free throw line.
Howard junior center Paul Kirkpatrick recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds while Myatt finished with 11.
GAME NOTES: The Bison ended the season on a three-game skid...Kandi Mukole, last week's MEAC Defensive Player of the Week, had another solid outing with six points,seven rebounds and two blocked shots...Kyle Riley had one of his poorest performances in recent games, missing seven of his eight shots.
NEXT UP: Both teams await tomorrow's seedings for the tournament.