ROCK HILL, SC— Winthrop men’s basketball captured its third win in five days as it shot 51 percent en route to an 88-62 victory over Campbell, Saturday afternoon at the Winthrop Coliseum.
The victory pushes the Eagles to 13-10 on the year and 6-4 in the Big South while Campbell falls to 11-14 overall and 5-5 in the league. Winthrop will look for its fourth straight win on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Longwood at 7 p.m. while Campbell will look to end a three-game skid at home on Wednesday against Presbyterian College at 7 p.m.
The Eagles used a 15-3 run midway through the first half to open the game up and continued to score the ball efficiently the remainder of the game. Leading 10-8, Winthrop began the run with a Brandon Vega long jumper as he found space after a Campbell player tried to go for the steal. The keys to the run were the Eagles scoring three points on three straight possession beginning with a Keon Johnson three on the wing. Following Johnson’s three, Jarad Scott and Joab Jerome completed three-point plays on back-to-back possession to push the lead to 23-11. Johnson completed the run with a pull-up jumper, forcing the Fighting Camels to call timeout.
“First possession of the game we got an offensive rebound stick back, got a huge stop to start the game,” said Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey. “Our kids were really, really locked in because they have a lot of respect for the offensive firepower of Campbell. They have five guys on the floor at all times that can shoot threes and they play a complicated style that’s hard to prepare for. In a really weird week where we had three games and the preparation time was much different than our normal preparation I thought our kids really concentrated and prepared and played really well today.”
It was a balanced offensive attack that got the job done Saturday afternoon as Johnson and Jerome led the Eagles with 13 points. Larry Brown and Andre Smith each added 12 points while Scott scored eight points off the bench. Winthrop finished with 11 different players scoring at least two points and eight of them with seven or more.
Campbell placed four players in double-figures as well as Darius Leonard led with a game-high 15 points while Kyre’ Hamer added 14 off the bench. Reco McCarter finished with 12 points while Luke Moyer came off the bench for 11.
The second half was more even as the Eagles did extend their lead by as much as 31 and Campbell got as close as 23 on two occasions with the last one coming at the 8:53 mark following a three-point play by Hamer. Winthrop responded to the Hamer play with an 8-0 run to push the lead to 31 as the run was capped off by a basket in the paint from Brown.
Campbell shot 54 percent in the second half and finished the game at 45 percent, but only 7-for-24 from three (29 percent). Winthrop forced 16 turnovers and converted them into 24 points in the game.
Winthrop shot 55 percent in the first 20 minutes on its way to a 45-23 lead at the half, its largest lead at the break this season. The Eagles forced eight turnovers and took advantage for to score 11 off the miscues. Campbell shot 36 percent in the first half, but just 2-for-13 behind the arc while the Eagles were 5-for-11 from three.
After a Leonard jumper made it a 14-point game at 29-15, Winthrop reeled off five quick points to push the lead to 19 as Keon Moore set up Brown for a dunk. Defensively the Eagles held the Fighting Camels to 10 points over the final 7:34 of the half as they tried to limit the second chance opportunities.
In the end, Winthrop dominated the game on the glass with a 41-27 advantage, outscoring Campbell 14-4 in second chance points.
The 26-point victory was the largest against a league-team under Kelsey and the first 20-point win over a Big South opponent since Jan. 22, 2011 against High Point at home, 77-49.