NORFOLK, Va. — Seventh-seeded Coppin State went 11 of 12 from the free throw line in the final 1:18 to upset No. 2 Hampton 81-77 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals Wednesday night at the Scope Arena.
The Eagles (12-19) will face top-seeded North Carolina Central on Friday at 6 p.m. in the tournament’s first semifinal.
N.C. Central routed Howard 92-46 in Wednesday’s other quarterfinal.
Hampton forward Du’Vaughn Maxwell’s layup with 1:23 left gave Hampton a 73-72 lead.
From there, however, the Eagles were deadly at the line, as guard Taariq Cephas, guard Michael Murray and guard Daquan Brickhouse combined to make nine free throws in a row before Cephas finally missed one.
Brickhouse added two more free throws with 3.9 seconds left to seal the decision.
For the game, Coppin State made 29 of 41 free throws.
Cephas scored 24 points and guard Dallas Gary added 17 for the Eagles.
Maxwell scored 23 points, including 11 in a row during one second-half stretch, and guard Brian Darden chipped in 17 points for Hampton (18-12), which was upset in its opening game of the tournament for the second straight year.
Last season, Hampton fell in the quarterfinals as a No. 3 seed.
The game quickly settled into a battle between Hampton’s superior rebounding might against Coppin State’s tenacity and ability to force turnovers.
The Pirates scored 13 second-chance points and grabbed nearly as many offensive rebounds (14) as the Eagles had on both boards combined (16).
Coppin State answered with 13 points off nine Hampton turnovers, including a strip and coast-to-coast layup by guard Michael Murray during a late 7-0 Eagles run that snapped a 27-27 tie. Coppin State scored nine of the last 12 points of the half and took a 36-30 lead into halftime.
Murray and guard Dallas Gary each had nine first-half points to lead the Eagles. Guard Ramon Mercado’s seven points paced Hampton, who hung close despite 29.4 percent first-half shooting.
NOTES: The game was delayed about 15 minutes with 13:18 remaining in the first half because of a shot clock malfunction. … Coppin State and Hampton have split their four meetings over the past two seasons, with each team winning both road games … Hampton, which received a bye in the first round, closed the regular season on a seven-game winning streak.
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