Kirkpatricks Dunk Lifts Howard to Win Over Hampton
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Paul Kirkpatrick scored on a dunk with 5 seconds remaining to give Howard University a thrilling 56-54 win over Hampton University in the Fourth Annual Big Apple Classic at Madison Square Garden before 6,981.
After the Pirates (2-7 overall, 0-1 in the MEAC) tied the game at 54-all with 14 seconds left, the Bison called a timeout with seven ticks left. Following the timeout, Howard put the ball in play and Curtis White found Kirkpatrick under the right side of the basket. The Bison center turned and threw down the shot that capped off a highly competitive game between two rivals.
"That last play was executed just the way we wanted," said Howard head coach Gil Jackson. "Interestingly enough, it is called "New York' because I love the Knicks."
Simpson, who had rallied his team twice with big three-point shots down the stretch, launched a long shot on the ensuing inbounds, but it missed and was gathered in by Howard freshman forward Mike Phillips as the game ended.
Howard came out of the blocks early to take an 11-2 lead in the first five minutes. Sophomore guard and leading scorer Calvin Thompson (11 points) scored seven of the points.
Then the Pirates regrouped to take a 23-22 lead at the half on the scoring of Darrion Pellum, Charles Funches and reserve Koron Pellum, who combined for 15 of their team's points.
"It was a bad loss for us," said Hampton University first year head coach Ed Joyner. "We got off to a slow start and that was mostly due to the fact that we looked tired after playing three games in Wyoming."
The second half became a test of wills for the two teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener on a neutral site. The Bison got scoring from several players at key points. Phillips, freshmen guards Anton Dickerson and Tyreak Johnson, White and Walker delivered as the game went back and forth. The final 20 minutes featured seven ties and eight lead changes with neither team leading by more than six points
But when it was all said and done, it was the dominance of Kirkpatrick that ultimately decided the outcome. The 6-9 senior from Randallstown, MD, hit on four of six shots in the second half while getting the Hampton frontline in foul trouble with his strong post presence. For the game, Kirkpatrick led all scorers with 13 points while grabbing a game-high 9 rebounds.
"It is a great relief to get our first win after a rough start," said Kirkpatrick. "We have struggled in games like this but tonight, we found a way to win."
The victory was especially sweet for the three members of the Bison who hail from the New York metropolitan area. Walker, Dickerson and Johnson all played their prep ball there and all contributed to the win.
"It is always good to do well at home," said Walker, a 6-8 junior forward. "But the main thing was to get a win in our first conference game. We have played some tough teams in different venues so far this season and I think that helped us tonight and will hopefully help us in the conference."
Pellum and Simpson led the Pirates with 12 each.
NEXT: Howard gets a break and does not resume action until December 19 when it travels to Baltimore, MD to take on Loyola at 7 pm.