Poor Free Throw Shooting Costs Bison
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Playing in one of the world's most famous venues, Madison Square Garden, Hampton University and Howard University squared off in the Big Apple Classic and when it was all said and done, it was free throw shooting that decided the outcome. Quite simply, the Pirates made theirs while the Bison struggled.
The final score, Hampton 45, Howard, 39 was indicative of the game's play that featured poor shooting, turnovers and no consistent flow. Example: In the first 20 minutes, the Bison made only four field goals while the Pirates fared just a bit better with a 33 percent shooting (8 of 24) effort.
Howard (1-6 overall, 0-1 in the MEAC) was able to stay close via the free throw line where it hit on 8 of 14.
The second half was nip and tuck until Hampton (6-3 overall, 1-0 in the MEAC) was able to open a nine-point lead at the 5:35 mark. But the Bison reeled off a 7-0 run to get within 34-32 with 3:24 remaining. The Howard rally was fueled by freshman guard Chris McHenry, who tallied all six of his points in the second half and Eugene Myatt who scored seven of his nine.
From there, it came down to free throw shooting. The Bison missed six of their last eight down the stretch while the Pirates connected on nine of their last 11.
"Free throw shooting is valuable, but especially in games like this," said Howard Coach Gil Jackson. "You play good defense and you get opportunities from the free throw line. You have to make the most of them." For the game, Howard was 11 for 25 (44 percent).
Added Myatt, "We had our chances. The bottom line is that you have to take advantage of the situation in a close game like this and we didn't. We have to put more work in in that area."
Paul Kirkpatrick, who is emerging as perhaps the best post player in the conference, led all Bison scorers with 10 points and eight rebounds. But he missed eight of his 12 free throw attempts.
The Pirates were led by veteran Vincent Simpson, who led all scorers with 16, nine coming after intermission. He scored seven of his team's last nine points down the stretch, including five of six from the charity stripe.