Prudential Center—-Anytime there is a rivalry, you already know what type of game you are going to get, a tough and physical one which usually goes down to the wire.
Joe Bryant Jr.’s scored 29 points and helped Norfolk State (16-7) defeat Hampton (5-18) 83-71 on Saturday night in the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic in front of 13,451 fans at the Prudential Center.
Bryant was named Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic MVP for his performance. He also dished out five assists for the Spartans. Dana Tate poured in 21 points and grabbed six rebounds. Caheim Brown recorded 16 points and shot 4 of 8 from the field and 7 for 10 from the charity stripe.
The win wrapped up Norfolk State’s nonconference contests for the regular season, going 5-0 against CAA opponents. The Spartans also went 4-0 in neutral-site events, winning all of its matchups at the ATL Has Something to Say HBCU Challenge, Boost Mobile HBCU Challenge, and ending it in the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic.
The Pirates (5-18) were led in scoring by Marquis Godwin, who finished with 21 points. Jordan Nesbitt added 19 points and eight assists for Hampton. Raymond Bethea Jr. also had 16 points, six rebounds and two steals.
In the first half, the Spartans started off slow shooting 39.4% (13-33) from the field and 22.2% (4-18) from beyond the arc. Early turnover problems helped the Pirates take a one-point lead 36-35 into the break.
In the second half trailing by one, the Spartans outscored Hampton 48-35 in the final 20 minutes to secure the win at the Rock.
Norfolk State came with a lot more and intensity in the second half, as Bryant finished a layup in the lane before setting up Kris Bankston for a rim rocker dunk on a fast break.
Hampton hung tough until about the 12-minute mark. Bryant knocked down a deep three to give NSU a two-point lead, and Terrance Jones hit a contested floater right after.
Bryant and Tate hit back-to-back threes after a Jones’ basket, forcing Hampton to call timeout trailing by eight points. The stoppage didn’t stop the spurt, Tate made a layup with a foul just a couple of minutes later, extending the lead to 13 points.
Bryant got loose, draining his final 3-pointer of the game in the final minutes. Bryant hit four free throws down the stretch, scoring 21 of his 29 points in the second half.
NSU forward Dana Tate Jr. poured in 21 points it marked his third straight game scoring 21 points, recording the same amount in wins over North Carolina Central and South Carolina State.
The Pirates began to heat up from behind the arc in the second half, regaining control of the ballgame thanks to a few 3-pointers by Goodwin. Goodwin squashed any notion of any comeback aspirations.
Jordan Nesbitt added 19 points and eight assists for Hampton. Raymond Bethea Jr. also had 16 points, six rebounds and two steals as well.
Norfolk State returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 11 at Maryland Eastern Shore.