Patriots pull away from Hampton for win

By Marvin Birchfield

   JONESBOROUGH -- Hampton was handed its second straight loss in the Hardee's/Black Tie Formalwear Classic on Wednesday, as Sullivan East went on a second-half tear to capture a 77-45 victory.
   The Patriots dominated the third and fourth quarters, while the Bulldogs (0-4) had no answers in stopping the flurry.
   "We came out a lot more aggressive tonight, and we were able to get some buckets on the inside, which opened up our offense from outside," said Sullivan East coach John Dyer.
   Hampton took the opening tip and scored, after Corey McKinney connected with a bucket inside the paint.
   Sullivan East stormed back by grabbing the next seven scores, when Donavan Dye hit a three from the corner, and David Leonard scored back to back buckets from down low.
   "We shot the ball better and had more intensity. We were timid the night before, but the guys were definitely more ready to play in this game," said Dyer.
   After trailing by five midway through the first period, Hampton went on a 7-0 run to grab a two-point advantage with 30 seconds left.
   The Patriots came back with two free throws coming from Leonard, and a steal by Dye followed by a lay-up gave Sullivan East a 15-13 edge in the first.
   Hampton tied the score at 17-17 in the second period, when McCall and McKinney both scored from inside.
   Brian Milhorn knocked down a trey for East to reassume the lead, but the Bulldogs answered with two buckets to cling to a one-point advantage with 4:48 left in the half.
   A pass from Lucus Honeycutt to McCall, and then a couple of free throws by McKinney continued to give the 'Dogs a slim advantage, but the Patriots were looking to heat up by going on a big run.
   Jimbo Jones hit a three to give the lead back to the Patriots, and then six straight free throws enabled Sullivan East to get some breathing room.
   The Patriots were perfect from the free-throw line in the first half and 20-of-22 for the game, which gave them a 90.9 percentage from the charity stripe.
   Hampton saw a drought that lasted for two and a half minutes, which helped the Patriots obtain a cushion before the half.
   With under a minute to go, Dusty Craig buried a three for Sullivan East to stretch the margin to 13.
   "They made the extra pass to find the open shot, and I thought that was the main difference. I'm just proud of their effort out on the court," said Dyer.
   A foul shot by Shane Campbell and a jumper inside the top of the key from McKinney pulled the 'Dogs within 10 to make it a 38-28 advantage for Sullivan East at the break.
   The third quarter wasn't kind to Hampton at all, as it seemed to struggle in every phase of the game.
   The Patriots were dominating them on the boards, and the offense just never quite got into sink.
   "We just stood around and held back, and we're going to have to go back to the drawing board," said Hampton coach Bud Hazelwood. "I don't know what the answer is right now."
   Hampton came out to score the first bucket of the half with McCall inside, but it would take the 'Dogs almost five minutes to get their next field goal.
   Sullivan East had gone to the hole in the first half, but found some range from behind the arc in the third quarter, scoring the next 13 points.
   A couple of treys by Dye, along with three field goals from Milhorn opened up a 20-point lead for the Patriots.
   "Give Sullivan East credit. They made some tough shots and did a good job of moving the ball around tonight," said Hazelwood.
   Hampton was finally able to stop the dry spell, as Jacob Culler came in to grab a couple of boards and putbacks from inside.
   Sullivan East enjoyed a 58-34 heading into the final quarter and showed no signs of slowing down.
   The Bulldogs were unable to close the gap in the fourth, as Sullivan East continued to make them pay from outside.
   "We were beat in every phase of the game, and we're not going to get any better until someone decides they want to come out and play," said Hazelwood.
   Three field goals from McCall made him the leading scorer for Hampton on the night, as he finished with 14 points.
   The Patriots were led by three players in double digits, with Milhorn finishing with 14, while Dye added 13 and Leonard had 12.
   Hampton will play again on today at 5 p.m., where they will try to win the seventh-place game against Sevier County.