BLACKSBURG, VA— Winthrop was outscored 27-10 over a 10 minute span of the second half as it fell 81-63 at Virginia Tech, Tuesday evening at Cassell Coliseum in men’s basketball action.
Winthrop falls to 5-2 on the year as its three-game winning streak is snapped while Virginia Tech gets a career-high 34 points from Jarell Eddie to push the Hokies to 6-3 on the year. Eddie finished the game 13-for-18 from the field and 6-for-8 from behind the arc.
After trailing by nine points at the break, Winthrop opened the second half on a 5-0 run and eventually pulled within a point at 50-49 with 12:49 left in the game after Josh Davenport drained a three-pointer in the corner. After that basket, Winthrop didn’t score over the next four minutes and 22 seconds but still only trailed by two points after Joab Jerome drove the lane and dropped in a runner. The game was within but Virginia Tech was slowly building a three-possession lead and then Eddie connected on his sixth triple of the game and was fouled in the process as he completed the four-point play for an 11-point advantage with 5:35 left. Andre Smith missed a three on the other end for the Eagles and C.J. Barksdale dropped in a three as the Hokies led 70-56.
“He was phenomenal tonight, first of all,” said Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey about Eddie’s 34-point performance. “He was the focal point of our preparation. We were very, very concerned with his size on the perimeter and his ability to shoot over smaller defenders. When a guy has a performance like that sometimes you just have to tip your cap and acknowledge that he had a phenomenal offensive performance.”
During the middle of the second half, Winthrop had its opportunities to either tie the game or take the lead but couldn’t get shots to fall. The Eagles shot 40 percent from the field in the game but were 7-for-22 from three (32 percent) and lost the rebound battle 37-22.
Virginia Tech finished the night shooting 60 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the foul line (14-for-20). Barksdale finished with 13 points and six assists while Devin Wilson had 11 points and eight assists.
“We went on a drought and I don’t know what that was or how many minutes but it seemed like we didn’t score for a week and a half,” said Kelsey. “We couldn’t put the ball in the basket and we went down on the other end and let our struggles on the offensive end affect our defense. All credit goes to them, they did a good job answering our runs and finding a way to get the win.”
Freshman Keon Johnson led Winthrop with 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting and Jerome finished with 13 points. Brandon Vega had a team-high five assists off the bench. Smith had a tough night shooting as he finished with nine points after going 4-for-14 from the field and 1-for-10 behind the arc. Smith’s lone three-pointer was the 100th of his career as he becomes the 17th different Winthrop player to reach 100 threes in a career.
The Eagles shot 42 percent in the first half, but couldn’t overcome the hot hand of Jarell Eddie, who scored 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting in the first 20 minutes. The Hokies led 42-33 at the break as the Eagles hit four of their final 10 shots over the final seven and a half minutes and took away some scoring opportunities with six turnovers in that span.
Winthrop fell behind 13-5 early in the game, but responded with a 7-0 run behind a Keon Moore three-pointer and two baskets from James Bourne. Moore started the run with a triple in the corner and then Bourne knocked down a baseline jumper before receiving a pass inside and easily turned and scored on an uncontested lay-up to pull within a point.
Eddie Responded with a three, but that was answered with another three from Moore and two possessions later the Eagles snagged their first lead of the game at 17-16 following a Vega layup as he pushed the ball up the floor quickly and scored. A Jarad Scott stick back at the 9:07 mark put Winthrop in front 19-16.
The Hokies used a 12-2 run for a seven-point advantage with 6:38 remaining in the half. Jerome answered with a three but Eddie couldn’t miss and knocked down another jumper to push the lead back to six points. After the Jerome three, Virginia Tech outscored the Eagles 12-4 and extended the lead to 12-points with 1:43 left before the Eagles were able to cut the deficit to single-digits before the break.
Winthrop will have the next 11 days without a game as the team will go through its final exams of the fall. The Eagles next game will be on Sunday, December 15 at 2 p.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum.