ROCK HILL, SC– Coming off its first loss of the season the Winthrop men’s basketball team looks to bounce back on the road at East Tennessee State, Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.
This will be the first ever meeting between the Eagles and the Buccaneers, despite being separated by just a three and a half hour bus ride.
Winthrop fell 92-71 at 14th-ranked VCU on Saturday as it committed 25 turnovers and the Rams finished the game 34-for-48 at the foul line. The Eagles shot the ball well at 48 percent and were 8-for-19 behind the arc, but the 25 turnovers led to 30 points and the Rams turned 19 offensive rebounds into 18 second chance points.
Offensive rebounds have been an issue in two of the first three games for the Eagles. Roanoke College nabbed 17 in the opener and VCU had 19. The Eagles allowed USC Upstate just six and have allowed an average of 14. In the team’s first three games, opponents have totaled 40 second chance points. So far 44 percent of opponent’s points have come in the paint. Winthrop has scored 38 percent of its total points in the paint and
The Eagles are looking for the first 3-1 start since the 2007-08 season. In 2012-13, Winthrop lost its first three road games of the year before winning at Ohio on Dec.15.
Junior Andre Smith had an impressive first half as he scored 14 of his team-high 15 points as he connected on four triples in the first 20 minutes. Smith is now leading the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game and shooting 50 percent behind the arc (10-for-20).
Senior Joab Jerome is second on the team in scoring at 13.7 points as he is coming off a nine-point performance at VCU. Jerome had scored in double-figures in the previous 11 games. He is enjoying one of his best years shooting the ball as he’s 56 percent from the floor and 67 percent from three (4-for-6). He had only hit 11 threes in his first three seasons.
Winthrop has three players scoring in double-figures as freshman Keon Johnson has averaged 13 points through the first three games. Johnson has started all three games at point guard and is shooting 44 percent from the field, 58 percent from three (7-for-12) and is 10-for-11 at the foul line (91 percent).
One of the biggest surprises this season has been the impact of sophomore walk-on Tevin Prescott, who is averaging nine points and 4.3 rebounds off the bench. He’s shooting 75 percent from the floor and tied for the team lead with four blocks in an average of 16.7 minutes per game. With the absence of Duby Okeke, Prescott has stepped in nicely and seems to get better and more comfortable each game.
ETSU is off to an 0-3 start with two of the three games on the road and all three losses coming by single-digits. The Bucs leading scorer has been different in all three games, but junior guard Rashawn Rembert is a sharp shooter that is 7-for-17 behind the arc and averaging 14 points per game and 2.0 assists. Rembert is shooting 45 percent from the floor and is 7-for-8 from the foul line. He led the team with 21 points in its home loss to Morehead State and has been in double-figures all three games.
The Bucs are shooting the ball at 36 percent from the floor and 30 percent behind the arc and have been outrebounded by an average of 11.3 per game. Senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard is second on the team at 12.3 points per game while sophomore forward Lester Wilson is averaging 8.7 points, but is coming off a 1-for-6 performance and three points at Western Kentucky. Freshman guard A.J. Merriweather is fourth on the team in scoring at 8.3 points, but leads the team in rebounding at 8.3.