Stealing the shine from the San Antonio Spurs, the Hampton University basketball team decided to bench its starters for tip-off against rival Howard University at the Convocation Center.
The joke worked well in Hampton’s favor, giving the Pirates their first win of the season, 58-50.
The Pirates (1-5, 1-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) received another solid performance from freshman Deron Powers, who had 22 points, six assists and seven steals.
With the help of senior Jasper Williams, the two registered Hampton’s first 12 points of the game with four 3-point shots. Williams had 13 points.
“It feels great; I finally had a good game,” said Powers, who won a state championship last year with Williamsburg Christian Academy.
Hampton coach Ed Joyner already has told Powers to get used to being the team leader.
“He tells me, ‘It’s your team, you need to account for your team,’ ” Powers said. “He said, ‘You need to do everything together and have confidence in your team. Be a leader.’”
The Bison ended the first half with 15 turnovers and finished with 25, compared to the Pirates’ 22. With a tough zone defense from both teams, the score was tied at 20 at halftime.
The Pirates kept a steady speed and pulled away in the second half to lead by 10 points with eight minutes left. They frequently converted inside and outscored the Bison in the second half.
CNU 79, Maryville 62
Christopher Newport (5-0), ranked 18th nationally by d3hoops.com, began USA South play with a victory at Maryville (Tenn.).
Mike Cherry and Nik Biberaj both had 18 points for the Captains, while Tra Benefield chipped in 13 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Patrick Fehl also posted 13 points, a season-high.
CNU jumped to a 15-0 margin. The Scots cut it to 31-28 but never came closer.
Apprentice 92, Berkeley 78
Lavontae Thomas scored 17 points as the Builders won in New Jersey, bouncing back from Friday’s loss to St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Jay Melendez (13 points, nine rebounds) and Cameron Perry (12 points) also made big contributions for Apprentice (5-4). Tevin Andrews grabbed 13 rebounds.
Norfolk State 55, Savannah State 45
A stifling defense and a couple of key 3-pointers late in the game from Pendarvis Williams boosted the Spartans (4-5, 1-0) past the Tigers (5-4, 0-1) -- the MEAC's preseason favorites -- in Savannah, Ga.
Williams scored a game-high 16 points for the Spartans and hit NSU’s only two 3-pointers of the night. They came a minute apart to get NSU's advantage up to eight with a little more than five minutes to go.
Chris Braswell had 18 points and seven rebounds as host Charlotte (7-0 for the first time) beat East Carolina 76-64.
Miguel Paul had 12 points and five assists for the Pirates (5-1), making him the 14th player in East Carolina history to accumulate 200 career assists....
VCU (5-3) nearly squandered a 21-point lead but held off Belmont 75-65 at Siegel Center behind Treveon Graham’s 19 points and Juvonte Reddic’s 17 points and nine rebounds.
Ian Clark scored 24 for the Bruins (5-3) of Nashville, Tenn. ...
Rayshawn Goins had 19 points and eight rebounds and Andrey Semenov scored 17 as James Madison (2-5) beat Winthrop 71-61. But one of the Dukes’ most talented players, slumping forward A.J. Davis, was suspended indefinitely before the game. ...
Ian Chiles scored from point-blank range at the buzzer to give Morgan State a dramatic 81-80 overtime victory at VMI. The Keydets’ Stan Okoye had 29 points and 11 rebounds. ...
Gabas Maldunas scored 19 points to help Dartmouth (2-3) to a 61-53 win at Longwood. David Robinson netted 21 for the Lancers (2-6).