Anders Broman, you dog, you.
Winthrop’s redshirt junior sharpshooter banked home a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left Wednesday night to give the Eagles a 58-57 overtime win against Furman that looked so improbable for most of the night. Pat Kelsey’s team struggled immensely on the offensive end for a second straight game, but unlike Sunday against New Hampshire, was able to gut out a victory with some key plays in crunch time.
“Both teams competed their rear ends off,” said Kelsey. “I was proud of our guys.”
The biggest play of all was the least likely. Down 57-55 with 20 seconds left, the Eagles tried to get star guard Keon Johnson isolated with a driving lane. He beat two defenders but had to fling a desperation pass out to the 3-point arc behind him. Broman caught the ball and flung it at the rim.
Or the backboard.
Either way, it went in.
Broman didn’t call the bank, “but the crazy thing is it felt good when it came out of my hands,” he said afterward. “I didn’t expect to bank it in, but we’ll take it.”
“I thought that we defended it as well as we could,” said Furman coach Niko Medved. “Obviously, we’re really disappointed. I thought we had done just enough to win the game but it didn’t go our way.”
A victory looked unlikely after a slog of a first 20 minutes. Gold-clad Winthrop (4-2) had almost twice as many turnovers (12) as made field goals (7) in the first half. Three of the Eagles’ first four trips down the floor resulted in turnovers, indicative of what was to come in the first half.
“You could tell very quickly it was gonna be that type of night,” said Medved.
He regretted that his team wasn’t further in front as Winthrop struggled, but Furman wasn’t much better offensively, coughing the ball up nine times and shooting just 32 percent.
Roderick Perkins started in place of Anders Broman in the Winthrop first five, but it was Broman’s 3 that gave the Eagles their first points nearly 6 minutes into the game. Winthrop was fortunate to only be down 25-21 at the half, and started the second much better, a 7-0 run putting the Eagles in front. Cooks’ pull-up 3 made it 28-25 and a few smiles finally flashed across faces throughout the Coliseum.
Neither team led by more than six in the second half. Furman was up by three late in the game when Josh Davenport blew by his defender for a slam, followed by another Cooks 3 to put the Eagles up 48-46. Winthrop had a few opportunities to stretch the lead in the last 2 minutes but couldn’t do so, and Furman’s Matt Rafferty ensured overtime by rattling in a baseline jumper to tie it at 48.
In such a whipsaw game there wasn’t really a clear turning point. But the Eagles’ 7-0 run to start the second half at least suggested that they had sorted out a few of their offensive difficulties that made for one of the ugliest first halves of the college basketball season.
“As much a tractor pull as the first seven, eight minutes of the game was, I felt our guys came out with energy in the second half and we spurted a bit,” said Kelsey. “It felt like things were loosening up and we were playing more confidently offensively.”
Winthrop successfully navigated the tightrope of not letting its offensive futility impact its defense or overall effort. The Eagles forced the visitors into late shot clock situations throughout the game, and though the Paladins hit a couple of big shots as the shot clock horn blared, Kelsey was thrilled with the effort.
“They continued to guard and rebound,” said Kelsey. “At times in the past, sometimes our offense would effect our defense. If we’re struggling to find the bottom of the net, it would hurt our morale on the defensive end. But I don’t feel like that ever happened.”
Besides hitting the game-winner, Broman had a solid game. He came off the bench for the first time this season, but hit 4 of 8 shots from beyond the arc, finishing with 12 points.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been around a kid that works as hard as he does on a daily basis,” said Kelsey. “It’s great to see him have some success. Good things happen to people that work the hardest. He deserved that moment tonight.”
Cooks had another solid game for the Eagles, leading the way with 14 points. His eight turnovers were a negative, but he did dish out five assists, somewhat offsetting a few drives into the lane where he was out of control, and the big Aussie also recorded four steals.
Johnson was again largely limited by the opponent, but he scored six of eight points in overtime and gave Winthrop a lift when it fell behind in the extra period.
Devin Sibley was really good for Furman, scoring 21 points to lead all scorers.
Winthrop hits the road to face Dayton, a home game of sorts for several members of Winthrop’s program, including Kelsey, the Cincinnati native. He said Wednesday night that he has 56 first cousins so there will be some familiar faces backing the Eagles on Saturday.
Winthrop 58, Furman 57 OT
FURMAN (3-4)—Beans 3-11 0-0 8, Acox 2-7 0-0 4, Davis 4-9 2-3 10, Sibley 7-13 4-4 21, Fowler 4-11 0-0 8, Rafferty 3-9 0-0 6, Clark 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-61 6-7 57.
WINTHROP (4-2)—Perkins 1-5 2-2 5, Prescott 5-7 0-0 10, Johnson 3-10 2-2 8, B.Broman 1-5 0-0 3, Cooks 5-13 2-4 14, Davenport 1-2 2-4 4, Okeke 1-4 0-0 2, A.Broman 4-8 0-0 12, Pickett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-54 8-12 58.
Halftime—Furman 25-21. End Of Regulation—Tied 48. 3-Point Goals—Furman 5-22 (Sibley 3-6, Beans 2-7, Brown 0-1, Rafferty 0-2, Davis 0-3, Fowler 0-3), Winthrop 8-26 (A.Broman 4-8, Cooks 2-5, Perkins 1-3, B.Broman 1-5, Johnson 0-5). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Furman 36 (Beans 10), Winthrop 28 (Cooks 8). Assists—Furman 7 (Fowler 5), Winthrop 12 (Cooks 5). Total Fouls—Furman 14, Winthrop 10. A—1,441 (6,100).