Hawks advance to MEAC semis with win against Hampton
On Thursday night, the Hawks (14-19) updated that fact by beating No. 4 seeded Hampton, 68-66, to advance to Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against No. 1 North Carolina Central.
“It was a team effort,” Hawks coach Bobby Collins said. “I was definitely pleased with the intensity and effort that we came out with tonight. The guys really fought. They stayed focused on the game plan.”
Freshman Tyler Jones (Atlantic City, New Jersey) led the Hawks with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting and added five rebounds and a pair of steals in 26 minutes off the bench.
“We know how talented that he is and I told him that during the tournament he was going to win some games for us and he was going to be the reason why we win," Collins said. "Tonight, he stepped up and played like he was a senior. I was very proud of him.”
Coming off a 12-point performance on Monday Jones continued to show that he can be a more consistent player than he was in the early part of the season when he showed flashes of brilliance (games of 28, 19 and 18 points), but also scored five points or less 19 times.
“I think my teammates have more confidence in me and the coaches,” Jones said. “But it’s mostly myself. I know what I can do I just need to do it. I’m going to get my opportunities. I just need to capitalize like I did tonight.”
The Hawks got out early and led for the first 33:08 of the contest and then promptly fell behind 59-55 with 5:50 remaining.
The game would be tight for the next several minutes and the Hawks would push out by five (66-61) on a Logan McIntosh (Atlanta, Georgia) layup with 2:18 left.
But Hampton wasn’t done.
“That was a very scrappy offensive team,” Collins said. “They made some big shots, their freshman (Jermain Marrow) had a big night tonight as well (19 points), but I told our guys it was the team that was going to make the last run, that was going to be the team that would win the game.”
They tied the game at 66-66 with 41 seconds left and Logan McIntosh’s layup put the Hawks back on top and then they held strong on defense for the final 12 seconds.
McIntosh scored all nine of his points in the second half, dished out eight assists and pulled down four boards.
First-Team All-MEAC selection Bakari Copeland (Decatur, Georgia) was second on the team with 17 points, added five rebounds, dished out four assist and picked up a steal.
“I was very proud of Bakari, who has been carrying us throughout the whole year,” Collins said. “He made some big plays for us down the stretch. He missed a shot, but I told him I was going to come back to him. We went back to him and he made a big shot for us.”
Over the final 5:24, Copeland had two key rebounds, 2 points and two assists.
The Hawks shot 43 percent from the field, won the battle on the glass 40-36, dished out 16 assists and held the Pirates to 38 percent from the field and 28 percent from behind the arc.
After doing what the program hadn’t seen since the 1973-74 season, Collins knows a title isn’t out of the question.
“We told our guys to focus on the mission,” Collins said. “We said we’d take it one game at a time and see what happens Saturday. I begged the young men to just listen to me and give me an opportunity to coach them. This time of the year, I have had a lot of success in my coaching career. I believe I have been in eight or nine championship games and I have five championship rings. I have been through it. I know what it takes. I asked them to trust and believe in the system and we’d have a chance to play for a championship.”
This is the team’s first semifinal appearance since the 1993-94 season when the Hawks — under coach Rob Chavez — had a first-round bye, topped Delaware State 91-76 in the quarterfinals and fell to North Carolina A&T 76-73 in the semifinals.
Friday’s game will be the 34th of the season for Eastern Shore — the most the program has ever played in one year.
Games can be heard locally on Fox Sports Radio 960 AM WTGM or on www.EasternShoreHawks.com. Will DeBoer will have the call Friday from The Scope on The Shore Sports Network.NORFOLK
- Men's Sports
- Women's Sports
- FAN ZONE
- DONATE NOW
- Business Accessories
- Decals/Magnets & Auto
- Duffles & Totes
- Everyday Essentials
- Flags & Wall Decals
- Gifts, Food & Accessories
- Hunting & Fishing