CLINTON — In a game that saw both teams shoot 54 percent from the field, Winthrop fell short, 64-57, losing to Presbyterian College Saturday night in Big South Conference men's basketball action.
Winthrop was 21-for-39 from the field and 12-for-14 from the foul line, but falls to 11-14 on the year and 5-8 in the league. Presbyterian finished 23-for-43 from the field, including 9-for-19 behind the three-point arc to improve to 7-20 overall and 4-9 in the Big South.
“I think i it boils down to we didn't have enough effort on the defensive end,” said Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey. “They set the tone. We didn't apply the type of ball pressure we typically do. They got some comfortable jump shots and they got going early. We called a timeout and I challenged their manhood a little bit and they responded and guarded the way a Winthrop basketball team does.Then we were in a dogfight.”
The Eagles trailed by a couple of possessions over the final five minutes e but could not get the game down to a single possession.
One of the best opportunity came after a timeout as the Eagles set up a play that got a short look by James Bourne, but his shot was blocked and a jump ball was called with possession going to the Blue Hose. Another opportunity came when Joab Jerome scored on a wide open lay-up with just over a minute to play to pull the Eagles within four points, but Eric Washington responded with a three-pouinter from the wing with 43 seconds to play for a seven-point Blue Hose advantage.
With under a minute to play, the Blue Hose missed the front end of a one-and-one twice, but Winthrop was failed to get its shots to fall.
Jerome scored a career-high 20 points on 8-for-9 shooting from the field while Derrick Henry added 12 points with 5-for-11 shooting. It is Jerome's first 20-point game of his career.
Presbyterian scored the first basket of the second half for a nine-point advantage before Winthrop outscored the Blue Hose 13-5 to pull within a point after Henry drove the lane and scored and was fouled in the process. Henry completed the three-point play to make it a 42-41 game with 10:25 to play.
Presbyterian College was an impressive 14-22 from the floor in the first half en route to a 35-28 lead at the break. Winthrop trailed by as many as 11 points with 3:20 to play in the half, but was able to cut the lead to single digits by the half.
Eric Washington opened up the scoring with a three-pointer to give Presbyterian the lead, which it held for the entire first half. The Eagles were within a point after Gideon Gamble’s short jumper in the lane with 13:12 remaining in the first half before going on a 16-6 run, including nine straight points for a 27-16 lead with just over five and a half left in the half.
The Eagles finished at 53 percent shooting in the first half on 10-for-19 shooting, but committed six turnovers as the Blue Hose didn't have any in the first half. Back-to-back three pointers by Christian Farmer decreased the 11-point deficit to just five points with 2:30 left. Presbyterian answered with a lay-up on the ensuing possession to end the scoring for the half for both teams. Farmer finished with eight points off the bench.
Khalid Mutak Abbir finished with a team-high 15 points while Washington added 11 points and eight assists.
Winthrop remains on the road as it heads to Boiling Springs, N.C, on Tuesday, Feb. 19 to take on Gardner-Webb at 7 p.m.