ROCK HILL, SC— Brandon Vega and Keon Johnson each scored 13 points to lead Winthrop men’s basketball to a 92-62 victory over Barber-Scotia, Thursday evening at the Winthrop Coliseum.
Winthrop improves to 12-10 overall as it will get back to Big South Conference as it hosts Campbell on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. The game will be live on ESPN3. Barber-Scotia falls to 0-24 on the year.
“This is a big week for us as we have three games and everybody was talking about the big three-game week,” said Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey. “All week we’ve been talking about we can only worry about one at a time and we got a big win on Tuesday at Liberty and then turned the page and focused on these guys and got one today. We’ve got a big one on Saturday. A little bit of an unorthodox week. In terms of having three games in one week and the preparation is a little bit different but our guys are really locked in and excited for Saturday at 4.”
The Eagles opened up the game in the first half with a 16-1 run and built a 21-point advantage at the break. The game was relatively close in the second half despite the Eagles shooting 67 percent from the floor as the Mighty Sabers shot 55 percent.
In addition to Vega’s career-high 13 points, he also dished out a career-best nine assists and also had two steals as he was a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor. Johnson finished the game 4-for-7 from the field, 3-for-5 behind the arc and 2-for-2 at the foul line to reach his 13 points while Keon Moore scored 12 points off the bench on 4-for-6 shooting.
Winthrop turned its lead to 30-plus points quickly in the second half as it opened the final 20 minutes on an 18-2 run over the final four minutes. Winthrop extended its lead to as much as 42 points with 8:58 left after a Josh Davenport jumper.
Winthrop ended the game shooting 57 percent from the floor and 46 percent from three as 13 players that got into the game scored. Freshman Jarad Scott set career-highs with 23 minutes, nine points and 10 rebounds. Also setting career-highs in points were walk-ons Donovan Carter with four and Hunter Sadlon with one.
For the ninth time this season, Winthrop connected for 10-plus threes in a game as it finished 11-for-24. Barber-Scotia finished the game shooting 46 percent but the Eagles forced 21 turnovers and scored 33 points off the miscues.
The Mighty Sabers scored the first points of the game and led 2-0 until the 18:23 mark as Johnson dropped in the Eagles first basket as he drove the lane and laid the ball in off the glass.
A Johnson basket started the 16-1 run over the six minute span, giving the Eagles a 16-3 lead. The run was capped off by back-to-back threes from Christian Farmer and Moore.
Farmer and Moore’s three started a trend for the Eagles of 15 straight points behind the arc as Johnson followed with two of his own and then the streak ended on a Carlin Bremner straight away three for a 25-9 lead.
Late in the first half, Winthrop used an 8-1 run to push its lead 21 points with 3:42 left in the half. The teams traded a few baskets down the stretch and that’s where the lead remained for the half, 42-21.
Winthrop shot 47 percent in the first half as nine different players scored at least two points. The Eagles forced 12 turnovers and converted them into 19 points. Barber-Scotia shot 33 percent from the floor and was 0-for-4 from three but did manage 12-of-21 first half points in the paint.
Barber-Scotia was led by Carlos Benton’s 16 points, three assists and three steals. Joel Barnes added 10 points and nine rebounds.