LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After midnight in a close and lightsome locker room, Hampton University ensure Breon Key looked into his phone, stood from his chair and began reading aloud a list that enclosed Kansas, Texas, UCLA, Louisville, Providence, Buffalo . . .
Those would be a prior Kentucky opponents Hampton had outscored while holding their ascending spin opposite a strong Wildcats on Thursday night in a turn of 64 of a NCAA tournament. In fact, among a 35 games that have resulted in 35 Kentucky wins given Nov. 14, a No. 16-seeded Pirates had scored some-more than 20 Kentucky victims and tied one in their 79-56 first-round loss during a Yum! Center.
They had weathered a arise with aplomb. They had trailed by 35 points mid by a second half, though they narrowed that extremely from there, and they didn’t humour any outsized fear such as what happened on Dec. 20 to UCLA, that fell behind Kentucky 24-0 during a outset.
“A flattering good experience,” Hampton ensure Brian Darden said. “The atmosphere. Playing opposite a number-one team. You get to exam yourself, see how good we do.”
As a 17-17 group that finished sixth in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference nonetheless won a discussion contest even after losing a tip player, Dwight Meikle, to injury, Hampton had rushed all a approach from a mess-up to a center of a action. Rather than freaking out, it reached a initial media timeout with a 7-6 lead. It got by 9 mins of a initial half before Kentucky done some becloud runs to a basket and Hampton Coach Edward Joyner Jr. had to call a initial timeout down 18-11.
Kentucky’s low rope of desired talents went on a 14-0 run shortly thereafter, though a Hampton players suspicion they weathered flattering good a hitch amid a 7-foot skyscrapers of a group that would be a second-tallest were it in a NBA. In contrast, Hampton’s tallest starter was 6-8 — a eminence hold by Jervon Pressley. “We didn’t fear them,” Darden said.
“I consider my group competed good opposite a number-one group in a country,” pronounced ensure Quinton Chievous, who scored 22 points, had 10 rebounds and done some stirring ventures into a hulk forest.
“No one’s happy with a loss, though I’m gratified with a altogether effort,” pronounced Joyner, shortly before he did a brief impersonation in a corridor of a 6-foot-2 male perplexing to retard out a 7-foot guy.
They had begun a dusk with a odd breeziness of a group that exulted in only removing here, getting by Manhattan in a first-round game Tuesday night and some trade hassles removing to use in Louisville on Wednesday.
While Cincinnati and Purdue played their second half of a initial game, some Hampton players stretched on a corridor floor. Somebody brought dual prohibited dogs with mustard to Joyner, and he strolled around in his lane fit eating them. “What’s up, man?” he pronounced to a contributor station nearby.
Then, after Joyner went into a coaching bureau and altered usually into his fit for a game, Cincinnati and Purdue had a gall to go into overtime. Hampton’s players returned to a hallway, stretched again. Said Darden, “That’s NCAA Mar Madness for you.” Said Reginald Johnson, “The final thing we indispensable was overtime.”
When Purdue’s last-chance shot finally missed, somebody said, “Let’s get it,” and a unlikeliest group in a margin done a approach out for warmups. While a masses of Kentucky fans audibly spelled, “C-A-T-S,” Joyner paced around a bit, from a locker room, out into a hall. Then he nodded to a military officer, threw a cut of resin into his mouth and headed into an locus about thrice a distance (22,000) of a one in that Hampton plays (7,000).
When it finished, Hampton had both a predicted 51-31 resilient waste and a knowledge of perplexing basketball opposite such giants.
That length weighs on a mind constantly, a Pirates said: In pushing to a basket, with even a simplest passes. “You have to be accurate with what we do,” Darden said. “You have to be unequivocally discreet with what shots we take.”
On one play 5:45 before halftime, Johnson attempted a kind of prolonged inbounds pass from a baseline that routinely would be protected from interception. Yet he still couldn’t get it high enough, and a round thudded opposite a palm of a rising Trey Lyles, one of Kentucky’s 4 players during 6-foot-10 or above. It succinct a risks.
Many teams have glorious guards, Joyner pronounced in a corridor as a night and deteriorate ended, though Kentucky has so most more. “Where they unequivocally harm we is, they can bruise that thing inside to those large boys, and they can finish.” It happened adequate to come to demeanour methodical, though during slightest a dusk had not been totally miserable.