Morgan State has struggled at times to put teams away after building double-digit leads, and that weakness caught up with the Bears last night against visiting Hampton.
Morgan State dominated the Pirates through much of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup, but the Bears became sloppy late in the second half and the Pirates capitalized. A three-pointer by Vincent Simpson (13 points) gave Hampton its first lead with 8:22 remaining and the Pirates never trailed again in a 62-57 victory.
"We kind of got away from the scouting report and what we did in the first half," Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said. "We never give away [three-pointers] like that. They made one three-pointer in the first half and seven in the second. That was the story of the game right there."
Marquise Kately and Reggie Holmes each scored 13 points for Morgan State (10-10, 5-2 MEAC).
The win was especially sweet for Hampton (10-9, 4-2), which lost Saturday to Coppin State on a jumper by Vincent Goldsberry with 2.8 seconds left.
Simpson's three-pointer gave the Pirates a 46-43 lead. Hampton continued to press Morgan State, and another three-pointer by Brandon Tunnell with 2:33 left extended the lead to five.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Jermaine "Itchy" Bolden pulled Morgan State to within two with 1:38 remaining. And Holmes tied the score at 57 on two free throws with 1:06 left. Hampton's Christopher Tolson was then fouled on a three-point attempt, but he converted only one of three free throws.
The Bears, however, could not take advantage. Hampton made five of seven free throws in the final minute, and Morgan State did not convert another field goal.
Morgan held Hampton to 17-for-56 shooting, but the host team was out-rebounded 49-38.
"In the second half, we did not rebound as well," Kately said. "All the credit to them. They went hard. It was a number of things that went wrong. We have to learn from this experience and move on."
The Bears built a double-digit lead in the first half. Six straight points by Rodney Stokes gave Morgan State its biggest lead, 28-16, with 3:13 left. The Pirates made just seven of 27 shots, had 13 turnovers and trailed 32-21 at the break.
Hampton, however, got a layup from Donte Harrison to cut the lead to 36-33 midway through the second half. Simpson made consecutive three-pointers to tie the score at 41 with 9:38 remaining.