CLINTON, SC— Winthrop snapped a 12-game road losing streak in Big South Conference play as it opened up league action with a 71-67 victory at Presbyterian College, Wednesday night at the Templeton Center.
With the victory the Eagles end a four-game skid and are 7-6 on the year as they open Big South action with a win for the third time in the past four seasons. The loss drops Presbyterian College to 4-12 on the year. Winthrop will look to start conference play 2-0 this weekend when it hosts Charleston Southern on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum.
The Eagles placed three players in double-figures led by Keon Moore’s 16 points as he scored two of his points at the foul line with five seconds to play in the game to help secure the victory. The win was the first on the road in league games since Winthrop won at Radford on Feb. 2, 2012.
Early in the second half the Eagles used a 10-2 run to open up a 46-41 lead with 15:20 to play in the game after a drunk from Tevin Prescott. Moore scored four points during the run and Winthrop held the lead for the remainder of the game.
PC pulled within four points at 59-55 with after a Reggie Dillard three, but Winthrop’s Andre Smith countered with a three of his own as he pulled up from deep straight away and put Winthrop back in front by seven points. After the Blue Hose failed to score on the other end, Winthrop came back with another three as it was Moore from the wing for a 10-point Winthrop lead with 2:14 remaining.
After a long jumper near the right elbow by Joab Jerome put Winthrop in front 67-67, PC fought back and closed the deficit to within a single possession. The Blue Hose fought their way back as Dillard scored inside and then after Winthrop missed the front end of a one-and-one as Jordan Downing made the Eagles pay with two three-pointers to make it a two-point game with 27 seconds left. However, after his second three the Blue Hose were caught sleeping as Brandon Vega tossed a long pass to Prescott and he scored on lay-up with 18 seconds left to go back up by four points. Moore then made both of his free throws for the six-point lead after Dillard missed a three and then fouled on the previous PC possession.
Both teams came out firing from behind the arc as the Eagles first nine shots were from downtown and Presbyterian College fired from long range on six of its first seven shots and found itself with a 16-10 lead at the 13:45 mark after a Jordan Downing layup.
Winthrop responded with a 10-2 run for a 22-19 lead as Moore made a couple of baskets to spark the run. Winthrop held on to its lead over the next 5-6 minutes and even increased the lead to eight points with 3:12 to play in the half after Vega knocked down two free throws. Those were the last points of the first half as PC finished the half on a 9-0 run to take a 37-36 lead at the break.
Prescott and Jerome both finished with 10 points each as Jerome also had five assists and no turnovers in 31 minutes of action. Winthrop finished the game shooting 47 percent, including a 54 percent effort in the second half. The Eagles were just 7-for-23 behind the arc and the team only committed eight turnovers.
Downing led the Blue Hose with a game-high 20 points as he led four players in double-figures. Dillard added 14 points and three assists while Danny Herrera had 12 points and William Truss had 10 points. PC shot 58 percent from the floor in the first half, but Winthrop held the Blue Hose to 42 percent in the second. The Eagles took advantage of 15 PC turnovers and turned them into 22 points.
Winthrop is now 12-17 all-time in Big South openers and seven of those have come on the road.