A stunner, and an old favorite in the MEAC men’s basketball tournament

In a thrilling finish at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament, No. 6-seeded Norfolk State stunned third-seed Coppin State 55-53 when guard Rob Hampton dropped in a driving layup with two seconds left. The Spartans had been down 51-44 before starting that late run. The loss could signal the end of a long tenure for Ron “Fang” Mitchell, the veteran Coppin coach. At a post-game news conference, the 25-year vet would only say: “If it is (my last game) then life goes on.” Mitchell, 63, is in his final year of a 10-year contract.

Norfolk State will now face regional rival Hampton tonight in the MEAC men’s tournament, after the Pirates beat Maryland Eastern Shore 77-55 for the program’s 17th win in its last 18 games against UMES.

Meanwhile, Kevin Thompson came off the bench to score a game-high 24 points as defending champion Morgan State defeated North Carolina A&T 77-59 in the quarterfinal round. The No. 4-seeded Bears (16-13) move to the semifinal round where they face No. 1-seed Bethune Cookman. Thompson also nabbed 12 rebounds and blocked three shots.

Morgan State is making a fifth straight appearance in the MEAC tournament semifinals, and is aiming for its fourth consecutive league championship game berth under head coach Todd Bozeman.

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