Winthrop lost a heartbreaking one-point contest on Nov. 20 at Savannah State. Monday night at the Winthrop Coliseum, the Eagles made sure the score would not be close enough for that to happen again in their 68-47 triumph over the Tigers.
Sophomore forward Jarad Scott led all scorers with a career-high 15 points, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, and pulled down six rebounds.
“That’s something Coach Kelsey always stresses to me is getting open shots because of my versatility,” Scott said. “A big part of my game is being versatile.”
“Jared had his best game in a Winthrop uniform tonight and it’s good to see because I’m really hard on him,” coach Pat Kelsey said.
The win breaks a two-game losing streak and puts the Eagles at 3-2 so far this season.
Winthrop went on a 14-1 run after being down 7-6 early and never looked back. Sophomore point guard Keon Johnson had nine early points, including a four-point play with 10:37 left in the first half that put the Eagles up 15-8. Johnson was held scoreless in the last matchup with Savannah St. (2-5) but he finished with 13 in this one. Freshman Joseph Lopez was also in double figures with 12 points.
Scott led all scorers in the first half with ten points, including two 3-pointers. He scored seven straight to push a 20-16 Eagle advantage to 27-16.
Junior Tevin Prescott added a bucket to make that run 9-0, and he scored two more buckets in the last three minutes, including a dunk with four seconds left in the half that made it 33-23 Winthrop at the break.
Andre Smith found him alone on the baseline for the jam as the Tigers tried to trap up top. Prescott scored the final six points of the half for the Eagles and the first of the second half for seven points to match his seven rebounds.
“One of the things Coach talks about is deserving victory, which is playing harder than the other team,” Prescott said. “I think we did that today.”
Winthrop held Savannah State to 18-for-62 shooting for the game, or 29 percent, while the Eagles shot 42 percent from long range. In the previous meeting, the Tigers shot 50 percent from the field. Winthrop’s biggest lead of the first half was 13. The Eagles opened the second half with an 8-0 run to lead 41-23. Leading scorer Keon Moore hit a 3-pointer with 18:10 left for his first points and Winthrop already held an 11-point lead.
“We don’t want to be a one-trick pony,” Kelsey said. “Keon has certainly carried us in a lot of games this year and we need that. He’s an elite scorer. But we’ll be a more well-rounded team when we are getting contributions from other guys.”
The Eagles led by as many as 27 in the second half and Kelsey starting emptying his bench around the four minute mark. Winthrop plays at Jacksonville State Wednesday.