Hampton Upsets Delaware State

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: March 14, 2006

Raleigh, NC- The Pirates of Hampton University used a late surge in the first half and held on after a furious rally to defeat Delaware State University 60-56 to win the 35th annual Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC.

The sixth-seeded and seemingly overmatched Pirates built a 16-point lead with just over seven minutes remaining, then held of Delaware State by trading baskets and making free throws to prevent the top-seeded Hornets from winning their second straight MEAC Tournament Championship. The tournament was played in Raleigh this year after the tournament was played in Richmond, VA the last 7 years.

Delaware State led early and often in the first half led by Tracey Worley who knocked down back to back 3 pointers giving the Hornets and early 14-9 lead. After a slam dunk by the Pirates Bruce Brown cut the lead to 3 points, the Pirates Jaz Cowan made a basket to cut the lead to 1 point at 14-13 with under 7 minutes remaining in the first half.

After the teams traded baskets, the Hornets Troy Roundtree makes two free throws making the score 18-15 at a media timeout with 3:12 left in the half. That’s when the Pirates made their move.

With the score 18-15 Hornets, the Pirates finished the 1st half on a 8-3 run including the last 6 points finishing the half with a basket at the buzzer by the Pirates Rodrick Coleman layup finishing a poor shooting and low scoring half for both teams 23-21 at intermission.

The Hornets shot 40 percent from the floor on 6 of 15 shooting and only 38 percent from behind the arc. The Pirates shot 38 percent on 9 of 24 shooting and made only 1 of 5 from behind the arc, only 20 percent. The Pirates were led by Rodrick Coleman who scored 6 points. The Hornets were led by Tracey Worley with 11 points including three 3 pointers.

The Pirates of Hampton University started the second half the way they finished the first. On a run. The Pirates started out the second half on a 7-2 run giving them a 30-23 lead after a hard slam dunk by the Pirates Bruce Brown leading to a timeout for Delaware State. The Pirates outscored the Hornets 13-2 over the last 3 minutes of the first half and the first 5 miuntes of the 2nd half.

The lead was extended to 10 points after Rashad West made a basket giving the cinderella and underdog Pirates a 38-28 lead with 11:56 left in the game. Hampton seemed to really get some confidence and continued the momentum when they extended their lead to a commanding 14 point lead aftere a basket by no. 11 Jeff Granger of the Pirates making the score 44-30 with 7:52 left in the championship game. But here come the Hornets.

After the lead was extended to a game high 16 points after a basket by Cowan, the Hornets stepped up the defense and ran the floor to get back into the game. The Hornets went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 9 after two free throws by Jasha Bluntt with 5:26 left in the game.

After 2 free throws by the Pirates Dewayne Spencer put the lead back at 11, the Hornets scored the next 6 points trimming the lead to only 5 points on back to back baskets by Joe Dickens making the score 48-43 with just over 4 minutes remaining.

Both teams scored 6 points each keeping the lead at 5 for the Pirates54-49 with 2:21 left. That’s when the game really became tight, close and intense. The teams played “let’s make 1 of 2 free throws when the Hornets Troy Roundtree made 1 of 2 free throws and the Pirates Adrian Woodard made 1 of 2 free throws making the score 55-50 with only 1:40 left in one of these teams season.

Free throws were the demise of the Hornets as they constantly missed free throws down the stretch forcing them to go into “hurry up” mode to try an at least force an overtime in the game.

The Hornets got as close as two points after another basket by Worley made the score 58-56 but they would get no closer. After free throws by Granger made the score 59-56, one more free throw closed out the scoring for the game with the final 60-56.

Leading the way in the win for the Pirates, was Jaz Cowan with 15 points and seven rebounds. The Hornets were led by their all-american Tracey Worley who scored 15 points in the lead. The Pirates endter the game Tuesday with a 16-15 record.

The Pirates played Monmouth Tuesday night in the NCAA play-in game. They entered the game Tuesday with a 16-15 record.

The Pirates gave the MEAC only its second win in NCAA Appearances in 2001 when they upset second-seeded Iowa State 58-57, before losing 76-57 to Georgetown in the second round. In 2002, Hampton lost in the opening round, 78-67, to Connecticut.

Rashad West was name tournament MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammate Bruce Brown, Bluntt and Shine of Delaware State, and Calvin Brown of Norfolk State.