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Greatest HBCU March Madness Upsets

Looking Back at Memorable NCAA Basketball Tournament Moments

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2001: 15-seeded Hampton Pirates defeats No. 2-seeded Iowa State Cyclones

Norfolk State’s upset over Missouri wasn’t the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s first triumph over the Big 12. The 2001 Cyclones are one of only two Big 12 teams in the last 19 years to win an outright conference championship over Kansas. But 2001, was also a banner year for the Pirates, who posted its highest regular-season win total (24) in school history—a record that was bested the following season.

Hampton coach Steve Merfield’s group executed an effective game plan of keeping the high-powered Cyclones stuck in a half-court contest. Iowa State averaged almost 80 points per game in the regular season, but Hampton’s stifling defense held the Cyclones to only 57.  

The game came down to the wire, with Hampton forward Tarvis Williams’s floater in the paint, pulling the Pirates ahead by 58-57 with 6.9 seconds remaining. Future NBA guard Jamaal Tinsley raced up the court past several Hampton defenders but missed a layup to win the game.

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