ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Winthrop men’s basketball team fell 69-56 to UNC Asheville, Wednesday night in Big South Conference action.
With the loss, the Eagles fall to 10-12 overall and 4-6 in the Big South. Winthrop has now lost eight straight league games on the road. Asheville captures its sixth straight win and is now 14-10, 8-2.
The Eagles led at the half, but the lead got away from them as Asheville was relentless going to the basket and getting the ball inside, finishing with a huge advantage at the foul line. The Bulldogs finished 28-for-32 at the line, which included 23-for-24 in the second half. It is the first time all season that an opponent has attempted that many free throws against Winthrop.
The Eagles struggled at the foul line, going 11-for-19.
“I think the difference in the second half was we fouled too much on defense and they were constantly taking the ball out of the net,” Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey said. “Instead of us getting stops with the ball clinking off the iron and the ball landing in our hand and us going to get offense on the other end the ball was constantly being taken out of the net either on a made field goal or free throw.”
After a Gideon Gamble runner in the lane cut the lead to 55-49 with 6 minutes, 50 seconds to play, the Bulldogs outscored Winthrop 14-5 the rest of the way.
The two teams battled over the course of the first nine minutes of the second half, until a 7-0 run by the Bulldogs gave them a 50-41 lead after Jeremy Atkinson scored all seven points. Atkinson started the run by hitting a 3-pointer with an Eagle defender in his face and then beat the Eagles down court for an easy lay-in. He completed the run with two free throws.
Derrick Henry led the Eagles with 15 points for the third straight game, and also had six rebounds. Larry Brown scored 11 and got six rebounds.
“We always preach having a readiness,” Kelsey said. “We were ready to play when the ball went up. We were really defending. We were playing with a great deal of urgency and activity. Every one of their looks were challenged.”
Atkinson finished with 20 points as he was 8-for-9 from the foul line and also had five rebounds. Keith Hornsby finished with a game-high 21 points as he was 4-for-13 from the field, but 10-for-10 at the foul line.
The Eagles return home for their next two contests beginning with Longwood on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game is part of a doubleheader with the women’s basketball team, which is playing Campbell at 1 p.m.
|UNC ASHEVILLE 69, WINTHROP 56|
Percentages: FG .370, FT .579. 3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Gamble 2-5, Henry 2-6, Smith 1-4, Brown 0-1, Jerome 0-1, Farmer 0-2). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 3 (Jerome, Brown, Henry). Turnovers: 10 (King 3, Jerome 3, Henry 2, Diop, Smith). Steals: 4 (Jerome 2, Brown, Gamble). Technical Fouls: Jerome, Bench.
Percentages: FG .383, FT .875. 3-Point Goals: 5-16, .313 (Hornsby 3-6, Atkinson 2-5, Meyer 0-5). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 6 (Cunningham 5, Weeks). Turnovers: 9 (Nwannunu 2, Atkinson 2, Hornsby, Weeks, Cunningham, Meyer). Steals: 7 (Weeks 4, Cunningham 2, Meyer). Technical Fouls: Cunningham, Meyer.
Att.–1,661. Officials–Anthony Chiazza, Ray Acosta, Anthony Franklin.