Johnny (Florida) Jones scored seven of his team's final 11 points, and Lyndon DeBellotte made crucial free throws with 35 seconds remaining, to lead the University of the District of Columbia to an 82-74 victory over Hampton Institute last night at UDC.
The Firebirds rebounded after losing Monday night to 11th-ranked Norfolk State and improved to 8-7. Hampton, which lost to UDC earlier in the season by two points, is 7-5.
Jones led UDC with 23 points and eight rebounds. Tim Stanfil had 22, DeBellotte 12 and Johnny (D.C.) Jones had 10 in his first game since regaining academic eligibility for this semester.
John Stevens played magnificently for Hampton, coming off the bench and scoring a game-high 27 points. Andre McKoy had nine points and four assists.
Neither team led by more than five points until the final six minutes. When DeBellotte made a one-and-one to give the Firebirds a 77-72 lead, the game was sealed.
It seemed as if the Pirates were going to pull away with six minutes to play, when John Lane tipped in Ishmael Morley's missed shot and Stevens stole the ball and put in an 18-foot jumper to give Hampton a five-point lead, 66-61.
But UDC scored six straight points on Bryan Tucker's rebound follow, and two long-range shots by DeBellotte, the second from the top of the key, to put Coach Wil Jones' Firebirds ahead, 67-66.
The teams alternated baskets to make it 70-69, Hampton, but the Firebirds ran off another six points, as Johnny (Florida) Jones made a jumper from the base line and tipped in Johnny (D.C.) Jones' miss. Johnny Gantt drove the lane and made a layup on the right side to give UDC a 75-70 lead with 1:10 left.
After Hampton called a timeout, Stevens made an 18-footer to cut the lead to three, then he fouled DeBellotte. Hampton called time again, but DeBellotte swished both free throws with 35 seconds left.
Hampton's William Johnson missed a shot, Johnny (Florida) Jones made both ends of a one-and-one, and UDC led, 79-72, with 20 seconds to play.
"I guess we just played together," said Johnny (Florida) Jones. "I really had no pressure on me at the end. My teammates helped me relax.
"We came out slow. But we rebounded better down the stretch."
The lead changed hands 12 times in the first half. Johnny (Florida) Jones made a 20-foot jumper to give UDC a three-point halftime lead, 39-36.