Hampton Leads Norfolk State To Win Over Howard University
Washington, DC—January 29---Rob Hampton scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to help Norfolk State pull away to a 63-53 win over Howard University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's game at Burr Gymnasium. The game was televised on ESPNU.
The Bison (2-15 overall, 0-5 in the MEAC) again played a strong first half and trailed 25-24 at intermission. Dadrian Collins led the way for Howard with 8 points and reserve Rodney McCauley countered with 8 points for the Spartans (3-13 overall, 2-3 in the MEAC).
Despite the close game in the first 20 minutes, the tone was set by the Norfolk State bench, which held a 13-3 advantage.
With team leading scorer Kyle O'Quinn in foul trouble, the Spartans turned to Hampton and he would prove to be the difference, connecting on five of seven shots from the field, including two of three from beyond the arc in the final stanza.
"The focus on him (O'Quinn) was to make him a passer and not a scorer," said Howard Coach Kevin Nickelberry. "We wanted to take him out of his comfort zone. Norfolk State was able to make the adjustment and get the ball to some of their perimeter shooters." O'Quinn finished with 5 points, 13 under his average, but he grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and blocked four shots.
Each time the scrappy and undermanned Bison would reduce the deficit to a workable margin, Hampton would score a key basket to keep them at bay.
The Spartans threatened to put the game away when they built a 15-point lead with 8:31 remaining. But the Bison fought their way back with a 14-5 run during a five-minute stretch that reduced the deficit to six with a little over four minutes to play.
Howard had a chance to get even closer, but they missed a dunk and Hampton made them pay at the other end with a back breaking three pointer.
"Norfolk let us back in the game, but we failed to capitalize on the opportunities with missed free throws and lack of execution," lamented Nickelberry.
Statistically, the Bison were equal to the task, matching the Spartans with a 16-16 standoff in the paint area. They also won the battle of points-off-turnovers, 18-8 and in second-chance points, 15-9.
But the stat that has killed the team all season, reared its ugly head again in this game. Norfolk State outscored the Bison bench, 31-7 for the game.
"The lack of depth has hurt us all season and tonight was no different," said Nickelberry.
Mike Phillips and Collins each scored 11 points and Riley contributed 10 but they showed fatigue down the stretch as they all logged over 37 minutes each.
McEachin finished with 11 points for the Spartans, 8 coming in the first half.
NEXT UP: Norfolk State host North Carolina Central on Saturday at 6 pm while the Bison travel to Tallahassee, FL to take on the Rattlers of Florida A&M on Saturday at 6 pm.