ROCK HILL, SC— Winthrop tried to erase a 15-point halftime deficit but came up just short in a 62-56 loss to Wofford College, Saturday afternoon at the Winthrop Coliseum in men’s basketball action.
The loss drops the Eagles to 6-3 on the year and its the first loss at home this season while Wofford improves to 4-7 on the year.
Winthrop fell behind by 57-37 with 4:18 to play in the game when lineup changes were made by Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey as he put together an inexperienced lineup that nearly brought the team back. Sophomore Carlin Bremner and senior Donovan Carter came in for Joab Jerome and Brandon Vega and immediately the changes paid off as Carter found Tevin Prescott inside as he scored and was fouled in the process. Prescott, who finished with seven points, completed the three-point play.
The Eagles went on a 14-0 run as senior Christian Farmer provided a three and then freshman Keon Johnson nailed two, including a deep three straight away with 20 seconds to play to cut the Wofford lead to 58-54. Winthrop trailed by four points after two Johnson free throws with nine seconds to play and forced a turnover on the inbound pass, but unfortunately turned the ball right back over on the pass inbounds and Lee Skinner iced the game with two free throws.
“Obviously the last five minutes of the game, the frantic run we went on I was proud of the group of guys that were on the floor,” said Kelsey. “They played in a manner in which you’re supposed to play when you wear a Winthrop jersey and I was proud of the effort that those guys put forth. Tip of the cap to Mike and his team. Thought they came in very prepared. They play extremely hard. They are a very good defensive team, we knew that going in.”
Winthrop struggled offensively in the first half as it was 3-for-20 before and finished shooting 23 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes. In addition to not getting shots to fall, the Eagles turned the ball over 12 times. Winthrop took nearly 15 minutes to reach double-figure scoring as Keon Moore knocked down two free throws with 5:46 left in the half to make it 23-10 in favor of the Terriers.
Wofford led 32-15 at the half as the Eagles were 0-for-6 behind the arc, but went 7-for-9 at the foul line to keep the game within reach.
Moore knocked down a three in the first minute of the second half to bring the deficit to 12 points and over the next three and a half minutes the Eagles pulled within 10 after Andre Smith hit his only triple of the day at the 15:25 mark. Winthrop continued its struggles offensively and continued to turn the ball over, which allowed Wofford to build its 20-point advantage.
Wofford finished the game shooting 38 percent, but forced 22 turnovers it converted into 20 points. Winthrop shot 36 percent for the game, 48 percent from the floor in the second half and finished 15-for-21 at the foul line but managed a season-low 56 points.
Johnson led the Eagles with 18 points as he was 5-for-11 from the field and 4-for-6 from three, but was the only Winthrop player in double-figures. Moore added nine points and three steals.
Spencer Collins led all scorers with 19 points for Wofford as he was 6-for-7 at the foul line and also had three steals. Karl Cochran and Skinner each added 13 points while Skinner managed a double-double by pulling down 10 boards.
Winthrop will be off until Sunday, Dec. 29 when it travels to Virginia to take on Hampton at 2 p.m. You can hear the game on WRHI FM 94.3/AM 1340/WRHI.com starting at 1:30p with the pre-game show.