Terel Hall's three-point play with one second left gave Savannah State a 59-58 victory over Winthrop Thursday evening at Tiger Arena.
The loss is the first of the season for the Eagles as they fall to 2-1 and will return home for their next two games starting with East Tennessee State on Monday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum.
Thursday night, Winthrop's Andre Smith had two free throws with seven seconds to play for a three or four-point advantage, but the career 77 percent free throw shooter couldn't get either to drop and Hall took advantage. Hall drove the lane and threw up a shot as he was fouled to tie the game and made the free throw, despite the Tigers being 4-for-11 at the line before Hall knocked his down.
"We said going in we really had to take care of the ball and limit our turnovers and we had 19 of them," said Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey. "A whole bunch of them were unforced and plays we typically make. You have to tip your cap to Savannah State, they found a way. They imposed their will and their style on us instead of vice versa. That's a credit to them, to their coach and to their players."
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It looked as though the Eagles were in trouble with 2 minutes, 42 seconds to play as the Eagles defended the half court well for the duration of the shot clock, but as the last two seconds were winding down, Hall launched up a deep three that banked in for a 56-50 lead.
Winthrop then reeled off eight straight points for a 58-56 lead with 18 seconds to play in the game. Smith hit a three-pointer to pull Winthrop within one point and then Josh Davenport took over the offensive glass and hit 3-of-4 at the line for a 58-56 lead. Off the inbound play for the Tigers, Winthrop got the defensive play it needed as Smith came up with the steal and was fouled with seven seconds to play. But his two misses at the line allowed Savannah State the opportunity to tie the game or take the lead, and Hall made a play.
Savannah State was led by Hall's 15 points while Saadiq Muhammed added 14 points and seven rebounds and Fenner had 11 points.
Winthrop had 13 steals and forced 22 turnovers in the game but committed 19 of its own. Davenport led all players with four steals while Moore and Tevin Prescott each had two.