Howard Drops MEAC Opener to Hampton
Hampton, VA—December 1—Calvin Thompson scored 10 of his team-high 18 points in the second half, but it was not enough to offset too many turnovers and the scoring of Deron Powers, who poured in 16 of his career-high 22 pointers in the second half as Hampton pulled away to a 58-50 win over Howard University in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams at the Convocation Center.
With the score tied at 20 at the half, Powers fueled a key 16-6 run midway through the second half that helped the Pirates open the game's biggest lead at 43-33 at the 8:04 mark. The run came at an inopportune time for the undermanned Bison and was spurred by the loss of starting center Alphonso Leary who was ejected from the game at the 11:25 mark of the second half.
"That was a huge loss for us," said Howard Coach Kevin Nickelberry. "Alphonso was beginning to really establish himself in the paint area until the ejection. It really hurt us because we have such a small margin for error when it comes to losing players." Howard has already lost reserve points guard Keon Hill and sophomore center Oliver Ellison for the season to injuries and starting point guard Simuel Frazier due to a hand injury in the first half.
Down by 10 and having a poor shooting night (30 percent), the Bison rallied on the scoring of Thompson, who was 10 of 12 from the free throw line. Thompson led a 10-5 run that narrowed the deficit to 55-50 with a little under 2 minutes left.
The Pirates would go on to score the last points of the game while holding Howard scoreless down the stretch.
The Bison had most of its success in the paint area by converting 14 of 21 from the free throw line and holding a 43-32 advantage on the boards. But Hampton made the most of its opportunities by connecting on 5 of 10 three pointers in the second stanza and forcing 25 Howard turnovers.
"It has been the thing that has plagued us all season," lamented Nickelberry. "We rebound the ball well but we make too many turnovers and we don't make shots. We have to find a way to fix that. We have to take better care of the basketball and we have to find someone who can make shots."
Thompson added seven rebounds to his 18 points while Mike Phillips chipped in with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Powers added 6 assists to his 22 points and Jasper Williams came off the bench to tally 13.
NEXT UP: Howard hosts American University on Tuesday at 7 pm in the Burr.