MEAC Hampton Delaware St Basketball

Hampton’s Reginald Johnson (34) drives past Delaware State’s Amere May (44) during the second half half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament championship, Saturday, March 14, 2015 in Norfolk, Va. Hampton beat Delaware State 82-61 for an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. (AP Photo/Jason Hirschfeld)

Junior guards Reginald Johnson and Brian Darden each scored 20 points to lead the Hampton Pirates to a dominant 81-62 win over Delaware State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship game on March 14 in Norfolk, Va.

As conference champions, Hampton (16-17 overall record) will earn an automatic qualifying bid into the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament, scheduled to start March 19.

Delaware State (17-16) kept the contest tight early on; the score was tied, 32-32 by halftime. But Hampton turned up the intensity on offense and defense in the second half  and ran away with its fifth MEAC title in school history, and the second title won in the last five years.

While Johnson and Darden led the way for the Pirates with 20 points apiece, junior guard Deron Powers, the Most Outstanding Player of the MEAC Tournament, followed up with 16 points scored.

Delaware State senior guard Amere May led the Hornets with 20 points scored.

All local teams of the Washington, D.C.-Maryland region fell short in the early rounds of MEAC men’s basketball tournament.

-Morgan State (Baltimore, Md.) lost to Hampton, 91-71, in the opening round.

– Howard (Washington, D.C.) fell to Delaware State, 65-60, in the first round.

– Coppin State lost, 91-43, in a first round matchup with North Carolina Central.