DAYTON, Ohio – The momentum from winning the MEAC Tournament – four games in six days – carried over for the Hampton Tuesday night at UD Arena, as the Pirates withstood a push from Manhattan to take a 74-64 win in the First Four.
The Pirates (17-17), having picked up their first NCAA Tournament win since 2001’s historic upset of Iowa State, advance to the second round in the Midwest Region – where overall No. 1 seed Kentucky awaits on Thursday.
That game will be televised on CBS.
Junior guard Reginald Johnson fresh off his All-Tournament performance last week, led the Pirates with 15 points. So did guard Quinton Chievous, who battled his way to 15 points and a team-high 13 rebounds despite being banged up for much of the night.
Junior guard Brian Darden chipped in 13 points.
The Pirates, fresh off their fifth MEAC Tournament championship, shot 49.1 percent (26-for-53) from the floor and hit three of seven 3-pointers (42.9 percent). Hampton dished out assists on 20 of its 26 field goals.
Hampton never trailed; in fact, the Pirates jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead after Johnson hit back-to-back shots and Darden added a trey.
All told, the Pirates made 10 of their first 18 shots to open the game, and a jumper from Chievous at the 13:17 mark put Hampton up 18-10.
Chievous hit another jumper not even a minute later to give the Pirates a 20-11 lead.
Redshirt freshman forward Charles Wilson-Fisher gave Hampton its first double-digit lead of the night, slamming a dunk at the 6:33 mark to give the Pirates a 30-20 lead. Chievous added a vicious one-handed stuff with 4:21 left to put Hampton up 32-22.
It was the third dunk of the first half; earlier in the night, junior forward Jervon Pressley went one-handed to rock the rim over a defender.
Junior guard Deron Powers the MEAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player who chipped in eight points and dished out a team-high seven assists, hit a trey with 3:50 left in the half to give Hampton a 35-23 lead.
Yet Manhattan answered with an 8-1 run, cutting Hampton’s lead to 36-31 on a Carlton Allen layup with 36 seconds left in the half. But Chievous hit a jumper 13 seconds later, sending the Pirates into the break with a 38-31 lead.
Chievous had a double-double already at halftime, with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
A 6-2 run to open the second half allowed the Jaspers to cut Hampton’s lead to 40-37, but a layup from Johnson and another dunk from Pressley gave the Pirates a 44-39 lead with 15:53 left to play.
Ashton Pankey converted a layup with 13:51 left to play, cutting Hampton’s lead to 46-45, but that was as close as the Jaspers would get; in fact, Johnson responded with two free throws 19 seconds later, and a Chievous layup with 11:42 left to play gave Hampton a 51-45 lead.
When Emmy Andujar hit a jumper with 8:24 to play, it cut Hampton’s lead to 54-50, but Darden answered 12 seconds later with a jumper of his own – and that basket triggered an 8-2 run for the Pirates – one that resulted in a 62-52 lead with 5:45 left after a jumper from senior center Emmanuel Okoroba (Garland, Texas).
Pankey cut the lead to 62-58 with 4:30 left, but the Pirates closed out the game on a 12-6 run – a span that included two more layups from Okoroba and a 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line by Darden down the stretch.
Manhattan out-rebounded the Pirates 41-37, in part because the Jaspers shot just 37.1 percent (23-for-62) from the floor and went just 6-for-25 (24 percent) from behind the arc.
Shane Richards led the MAAC champion Jaspers (19-14) with 17 points.