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Second-half run lifts Eagles over Radford

When George Valentine put the ball on the floor to start his drive to the hoop from 15 feet out, you could feel the confidence coming back for the Eagles' front court.

Winthrop started the second half on a 12-0 run to turn a 1-point game into a 74-58 Big South win over Radford.

Valentine split two defenders, finished his layup and was fouled with about four-and-a-half minutes left in the game. He banked in his free throw for good measure.

Valentine finished with 11 points and five rebounds in his most effective game in more than a month.

Charles Corbin started his second straight game and posted his third double-double of the year with 10 points and 13 boards. Matt Morgan led Winthrop with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

The re-emergence of the Eagles' frontcourt was just what Winthrop coach Randy Peele was looking for against Radford. The win was the first for the Eagles since topping Gardner-Webb at home on Jan. 8.

Winthrop improved to 8-10, 4-4 Big South. Radford dropped to 4-14 and 1-7.

"If we can get that kind of production from them on the offensive end we will be all right," Peele said. "We still need to improve, but I'm not going to nit-pick. This was a good win, a hard-fought win. That was how we try to play."

The start of the second half may half been the Eagles' best basketball since the team's 83-74 win at Wake Forest early in the season.

Winthrop established some much-needed inside presence with a 12-0 run to start the second half. Corbin and Valentine accounted for eight points in the first five minutes after intermission as the Eagles turned a 32-31 lead into a 13-point advantage.

Peele used full-court pressure to create turnovers. When Radford broke the press the Highlanders forced up a couple quick shots that led to transition baskets for Winthrop.

"I've used the press more this year," Peele said. "We won the Presbyterian game with it and it made a difference tonight."

The first half was tight as Radford coach Brad Greenberg inserted freshman center Martins Abele and gave him the green light for the first time. Abele entered the game averaging three points and three rebounds.

The 7-foot-1, 285-pounder had 13 points at the half. He made 6-of-7 shots and was a load for anyone on Winthrop's roster to handle.

Prior to Thursday, Abele's best game was 6 points. The most action he'd seen was 15 minutes against Coastal Carolina.

Abele finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes, all career-highs.

"Martins practiced very well yesterday," Greenberg said. "I met with him before practice and talked about his potential to be an impact player. He's a kid with such a big body; sometimes he doesn't use it to his advantage. Today something clicked."

Winthrop hosts High Point, a 64-60 overtime winner at Presbyterian, at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

WINTHROP 74

RADFORD 58

RADFORD

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Edwards

24

3-5

0-1

3-6

0

2

6

Cerrah

23

3-7

0-1

3-3

0

5

6

Faulkner

22

1-6

1-1

0-1

3

2

4

J Smith

24

1-5

6-8

0-1

1

0

8

B Smith

30

1-11

2-2

0-2

2

1

4

Mitchell

2

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Robinson

21

1-3

0-0

0-2

4

2

3

Sonmez

16

3-6

1-3

0-3

0

2

10

Dickerson

5

0-2

0-0

1-1

0

1

0

Abele

28

7-10

1-4

1-10

1

3

15

Winegarner

5

0-0

2-2

1-1

0

2

2

Totals

200

20-55

13-22

11-32

11

20

58

Percentages: FG .364, FT .591. 3-Point Goals: 5-16, .313 (Sonmez 3-4, Robinson 1-2, Faulkner 1-4, J. Smith 0-2, B. Smith 0-4). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 5 (Cerrah 2, Abele 2, B. Smith). Turnovers: 15 (Faulkner 3, B. Smith 2, J. Smith 2, Winegarner 2, Robinson 2, Edwards, Dickerson, Abele, Cerrah). Steals: 7 (B. Smith 4, Cerrah 2, Abele). Technical Fouls: None.

WINTHROP

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Corbin

31

3-13

4-7

3-13

3

2

10

Valentine

23

5-6

1-2

3-5

3

4

11

Middleton

26

2-4

0-1

0-0

3

2

5

Jones

24

2-5

3-4

0-4

4

1

7

Dreher

32

4-9

2-2

1-4

1

2

12

Gamble

14

3-5

0-0

1-2

0

2

7

Burton

14

1-2

1-2

0-0

1

1

3

Morgan

17

6-11

1-2

3-5

0

2

13

Jerome

16

2-3

2-2

2-6

2

2

6

Francis

2

0-0

0-2

1-1

0

0

0

Scott

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

1

1

0

Carter

0

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

200

28-58

14-24

16-44

18

19

74

Percentages: FG .483, FT .583. 3-Point Goals: 4-11, .364 (Dreher 2-4, Middleton 1-1, Gamble 1-2, Burton 0-1, Corbin 0-1, Jones 0-2). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 4 (Valentine, Jerome, Jones, Gamble). Turnovers: 15 (Corbin 4, Dreher 2, Burton 2, Jerome 2, Middleton, Morgan, Valentine). Steals: 8 (Dreher 3, Middleton 2, Jerome, Corbin, Valentine). Technical Fouls: None.

Radford

31

27

-

58

Winthrop

32

42

-

74

Att.-1,812. Officials-Rick Ridenhour, Jerry Heater, Justin Porterfield.

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