New York, NY---December 3---It is expected to be another intense and exciting match-up when Howard University and Hampton University face each other in the Big Apple Classic on Sunday in Madison Square Garden at 6 pm. The game will precede the matinee game between Virginia State and Virginia Union at 3 pm.
The Pirates (3-4 overall, 0-1 in the MEAC) are smarting after
dropping a shocking 65-49 decision
to Savannah State in their MEAC opener at home on Thursday. The defending MEAC Tournament
champion and NCAA participant, Hampton was done in by some poor shooting (30 percent for the
The Pirates came into the season picked to be one of the top
teams in the conference in the pre-
season poll, but the team suffered a devastating blow when team second leading scorer and one of the top outside shooter in the conference, Kwame Morgan suffered a season-ending knee injury before the season started.
Hampton has had to rely heavily on the all-around play of senior forward Darrion Pellum, arguably the best player in the conference, who averages over 20 points per game and sophomore center David Bruce who averages close to a double double (10.9 points, 9.1 rebounds).
The Bison (2-4 overall, 0-0 in the MEAC) are coming off a 77-66
loss to American University on
Tuesday in which they scrapped and fought their way as they have all season, but some missed some free throws in a foul-plagued contest that featured 84 free throw attempts, proved to be their undoing.
Howard is led by red-shirt junior guard Calvin Thompson (14.0 points per game), freshman reserve guard Simuel Frazier (11.0 points per game) and junior forward Mike Phillips (9.2 points. 8.6 rebounds).
The Bison have been competitive in every game despite the fact
that they are playing several
The Pirates won last year’s BAC matchup, 65-49 by using
their experience and depth to wear
down the undermanned Bison. Howard won, 56-54 in 2009 on a Paul Kirkpatrick dunk with two seconds remaining.
There are a number of relationships between the two teams. Howard head coach Kevin Nickelberry served as head coach of the Pirates before taking the Howard job last year. Several of the current players on the Hampton squad were recruited by him. Associate head coach Keith Coutreyer also served as an assistant coach at Hampton before coming to Howard last year.
Howard players Alphonso Leary (Norfolk, VA), Clint Cuffee
(Virginia Beach) and Frazier (Norfolk)
all played their prep ball in the Tidewater area. Seven of the 15 players on the Hampton roster loom from the Washington, DC metropolitan area.