|Center David Bruce will anchor the middle for Hampton this season.
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The Hampton University men’s basketball team will open the 2012-13 season on the road on Friday, taking on William & Mary at the Kaplan Arena at 7:30 p.m.
The Pirates (12-21, 6-10 MEAC in 2011-12), in their fourth season under head coach Edward Joyner Jr., were picked to finish fifth in the MEAC this season. They return one starter and seven letterwinners from last season, while also welcoming nine newcomers – including two transfers – into the fold.
William & Mary (6-26, 4-14 CAA in 2011-12) come into their 10th season under head coach Tony Shaver. Picked to finish ninth in the CAA this season, it returns three starters and 11 letterwinners from last season.
Sophomore Marcus Thornton is William & Mary’s top returning scorer, having averaged 11.1 points per game last season, while junior Tim Rusthoven averaged 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest last season, making him the team’s top returning rebounder.
The Tribe averaged 60.3 points a game on offense, while giving up 69.4 points a contest last season. They were also out-rebounded by an average of 3.9 boards a night.
The Pirates are 6-9 all-time against the Tribe, and the Tribe has won four of the last six meeting. Prior to last season’s win, Hampton had last defeated the Tribe on Dec. 29, 2007, winning 70-63 at the HU Convocation Center.
The two teams first met on Dec. 20, 1995, with Hampton escaping Kaplan Arena with an 84-76 win. William & Mary then won four straight in the series, before Hampton won back-to-back games in 2000 and 2001.
Hampton is 14-32 all-time against teams currently in the CAA.
The Pirates went 1-13 on the road last season, with that lone win coming at Florida A&M, 74-59, on Feb. 25. For his career, Joyner is 15-26 on the road. In 2010-11, when the Pirates won the MEAC Tournament championship, Hampton was 8-5 in true road contests.
The Pirates were a defensive presence last season, leading the MEAC in field goal percentage defense in holding opponents to just 39.5 percent shooting. The Pirates, thanks mostly to the work of center David Bruce (Linden, N.J.) and former Pirate Danny Agbelese, were also second in the conference in blocked shots and third in defensive rebounds.
Hampton was also fifth in the MEAC in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 66.8 points a game. This continues a trend, who finished 2010-11 fourth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (.384) and 10th in blocked shots (5.6 per game).