HAMPTON—Statistics aren't foolproof, but they point to two negative tendencies for the Hampton men's basketball team: If the Pirates aren't scoring and they're not up at halftime, chances are they're not winning. And both bore out in predictable fashion during their 57-52 loss to Bethune-Cookman on Saturday at the Convocation Center.
Hampton is now 1-9 when they're trailing at the half (28-21 on Saturday), and 1-7 when they score less than 60 points.
Hard to blame him. The Pirates (5-13, 2-4 MEAC) didn't have their worst shooting game of the season, but it wasn't far off. They shot 32 percent from the field in the first half, allowing the Wildcats (12-7, 5-1) to peel off a 19-3 run, and 36.4 percent in the second half, in which they had two chances to take the lead but had go-ahead shot attempts miss.
"We wanted to pick up the tempo," Joyner said, "but we've got to make the shots to do that."
Added Bethune-Cookman coach Clifford Reed, Jr.: "Our game is to slow it down and go with our defense. This game fit our style well."
The one stat that didn't go their way? They outrebounded an opponent for only the fourth time this season getting 32 to the Wildcats' 26 … but they lost while doing so for the first time, even while holding leading rebounder Alexander Starling to four, just half his average.
The perpetually undersized Pirates had their hands full with 6-9, 320-pound reserve center Albert Abrahams, even though he had only one rebound. Abrahams scored 13 of his team-leading 17 points in the second half, and the 47.7 percent free-throw shooter even sank a pair of foul shots with 6.7 seconds left and Hampton having cut the lead to 55-52.
"Early in the year, he wasn't as far along as the guy in front of him, and conditioning was an issue early," said Reed, explaining why Abrahams hasn't started this season despite being the team's third-leading scorer (8.1 points per game) and second-leading rebounder (5.4 per game). "But now he can play 22-25 minutes a game. He does a good job watching the game develop and then contributing. He's not a starter, but he's a finisher."
C.J. Reed — son of the coach — added 16 points and six rebounds.
The Pirates presented a different look Saturday, with guard Vincent Simpson out of the lineup for the first time this season due to what Joyner termed "a team-related violation." He still led the team with 17 points in 33 minutes off the bench. Brandon Tunnell had 15 points and five rebounds in his second straight start after being a substitute to that point.
"Because we've had trouble with inside scoring, we decided to go small, and see if that helped us pick it up," Joyner said. "But we didn't make shots, and we didn't make stops."
Bethune-Cookman snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Pirates dating to 2005, but Cook insisted this season's team bears little resemblance to ones that lost to Hampton before.
"This is a different team with different players," Reed said. "They don't have the history of losing to them."
BETHUNE-COOKMAN 57, HAMPTON 52BETHUNE-COOKMAN (12-7): Miller 3-4 1-2 7, Reed 6-14 2-2 16, Elliott 1-2 0-0 2, Starling 1-4 0-0 2, Adams 2-3 0-0 4, Thomas 0-3 0-0 0, Abrahams 6-10 5-7 17, Bryant 1-1 0-0 2, Anusionwu 0-0 0-0 0, Dukes 2-4 1-2 7. Totals 22-45 9-13 57. HAMPTON (5-13): Pellum 3-13 3-3 10, Tunnell 5-12 4-5 15, Funches 3-8 1-1 7, Tolson 1-3 0-0 3, Lola-Charles 0-0 0-2 0, Simpson 4-10 8-10 17, Brooks 0-0 0-0 0, Freeman 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-47 16-21 52. Halftime—Bethune-Cookman 28-21. 3-Point Goals—Bethune-Cookman 4-11 (Dukes 2-4, Reed 2-5, Thomas 0-1, Elliott 0-1), Hampton 4-12 (Tolson 1-2, Tunnell 1-2, Simpson 1-4, Pellum 1-4). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Bethune-Cookman 26 (Reed 6), Hampton 32 (Funches 10). Assists—Bethune-Cookman 8 (Reed 4), Hampton 10 (Tunnell 3). Total Fouls—Bethune-Cookman 15, Hampton 16. A—3,561.
Next gameWHO: Florida A&M (4-14, 2-4 MEAC) at Hampton (5-13, 2-4).
WHEN: 8 p.m. Monday.