HAMPTON, Va. – A pair of wild comebacks for Hampton fell just short on Sunday as visiting Gardner-Webb escaped with an 80-79 win over the Pirates at the HU Convocation Center. Hampton (4-8) opened the game incredibly cold as the Runnin’ Bulldogs jumped out to a 16-4 lead at the 14:47 mark on a 3-pointer by Liam O’Reilly. The Pirates worked their way back into the contest and took their first lead on a Kalin Fisher layup with 7:12 left for a 25-24 advantage.
Gardner-Webb on a 9-3 spurt to take a 33-28 lead on a triple by David Efianayi at the 4:17 mark. Hampton scored the next six points on a pair of buckets by Fisher and one from Greg Heckstall to regain the lead 34-33 with 2:24 left. The lead changed hands twice over the last two minutes with a layup from Austin Colbert at the halftime horn bringing the game even at 38-all.
In the second half a pair of Malique Trent layups put Hampton up 58-52 with 10:58 left. Gardner-Webb responded with a 18-5 run to lead 70-63 on a 3-pointer from Efianayi with 6:26 remaining. Hampton followed with a 9-2 run to tie the game 72-all on a Fisher layup with 4:05 left.
Heckstall put Hampton up 77-76 with a triple from the top of the key with 2:24 left, but G-W got four straight from Efianayi to lead 80-77 with 68 seconds left. A pair of Heckstall free throws brought Hampton to 80-79 with 49 seconds left, but a pair of last ditch shots fell off.
Fisher paced five in double figures for Hampton with 16 points, as Jermaine Marrow had 14, Trevond Barnes and Trent chipped in with 12 each and Heckstall added 10. Trent and Heckstall topped Hampton on the boards with seven. Efianayi paced five in double figures for Gardner-Webb with 19 points.