NORFOLK, Va., — Malique Trent-Street scored 18 of his team-high 22 points to lead four players in double figures, but it was the clutch free throw shooting of Jermaine Marrow that helped Hampton hold off Florida A&M 75-71 in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Basketball Tournament at the Scope Arena.
The Pirates (18-14), the No. 1 seed, bolted out to an 18-point first half lead before the Rattlers (10-25) closed the deficit in half to 36-27 at intermission.
Hampton, which came into the game with an eight-game win streak, kept Florida A&M at bay through most of the second half with double-digit leads. Trent-Street did most of the damage, connecting seven of 10 shots.
But Florida A&M, the No. 9 seed, rallied on the scoring of Desmond Williams, who poured in 24 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. The Rattlers went on a 23-12 run to narrow the margin to 72-71 with 35.9 seconds left.
That is when Marrow, a first-team All-MEAC selection sealed the deal. The sophomore guard knocked down four straight free throws in a 20-second span to close out the scoring and help the Pirates advance.
Marrow just missed a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Akim Mitchell and Charles Wilson-Fisher each scored 12 points.
The Rattlers got 13 points from Marcus Barham, 12 from Justin Ravenel and 10 from Nasir Core.
The Pirates, the defending tournament champions, face the winner of the North Carolina A&T-Norfolk State game in the semifinals on Friday at 6 p.m.