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Same old story for Winthrop Eagles in Big South loss

Winthrop couldn't get out of its own corner.

And as a result, the Eagles have painted themselves into one.

A series of costly mistakes in front of their own bench created a hole the Eagles couldn't climb out of, losing 67-58 to Campbell at Gore Arena on Thursday night.

"It's just hard, because we played well enough to win this game," Winthrop coach Randy Peele said. "We did a lot of things well, but we didn't get shots to go down when we had good looks."

In many ways, it was a classic Winthrop game, similar to so many this season.

For the 10th time in 26 games, the Eagles led during the second half and lost.

Winthrop (10-16, 7-8 Big South) didn't shoot well.

The Eagles hit just 25.7 percent of their shots in the first half (after which they trailed by just six) and a respectable 42.3 percent in the second half.

That had Peele scratching his head, because many of the looks they were getting were good ones. There were open jumpers in the lane (thanks to Campbell playing zone all night), but the shots didn't fall. Matt Morgan and George Valentine combined for 16 points, but were 7 of 16 from the floor.

But the Eagles got back into the game the way they have so often, by working on the other end of the floor so well. The shooting percentage might not reveal it (Campbell made 57.1 percent from the floor), but they kept forward Eric Griffin in check for most of the night, or at least kept him from dominating the way he did in Rock Hill in January.

Winthrop also outrebounded Campbell 39-30.

In fact, the Eagles led the Camels (17-11, 11-5) 47-40 midway through the second half, thanks to a 23-10 run coming out of halftime.

The problem then became the litany of mistakes they made right in front of Peele's eyes. Winthrop only committed nine turnovers on the night, but seven of them were after the break.

Valentine picked up his fourth foul with 7 minutes, 42 seconds left, trying to claw his way out of a trap. That took away the Eagles' best post defender for a crucial stretch, as Winthrop was leading 47-45.

Peele was trying to call a timeout to save his big man, but the officials told him the foul came before his call.

A few minutes later, Morgan was trapped in the same corner, when he flung a ball wildly the other way. It was collected by Campbell guard Lorne Merthie for an easy layup and a 53-49 lead.

As the Campbell lead grew to 58-51, Jones tried to work his way for look against a stretched-out zone, but dribbled out of bounds within a few feet of the same spot.

"The turnovers, they were frustrating," Peele said of the late miscues. "I'm not going to say they were careless, but frustrating would be a very accurate word."

Because the Camels were daring the Eagles to shoot it over the top of a zone, Winthrop went with its old three-guard look, bringing Andre Smith off the bench to run the point, allowing Reggie Middleton to work off the ball and Jones to find some space.

Jones finished with 19 points, and Middleton had 16 to go with four assists and eight rebounds.

The Camels had four players in double figures, led by Merthie's 14 in his final home game.

Winthrop led the Camels by 13 in January, but allowed the visitors to close with a 13-4 run that night.

Thanks to Gardner-Webb's loss Thursday, Winthrop clings to sixth place and a first-round bye in the Big South tournament.

"All these games feel like practice for us for the tournament," Middleton said. "I mean, we've got to figure it out soon, but we will figure out what we need to do.

"It's tough, because there's not a team in the conference that's hands-down better than us.

"We've just got to find out a way to close."

CAMPBELL 67, WINTHROP 58

WINTHROP

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Jerome

9

0-4

0-0

0-1

1

1

0

Valentine

24

2-5

1-2

5-10

0

5

5

Morgan

28

5-11

1-3

6-8

0

5

11

Middleton

35

5-13

4-5

1-8

4

2

16

Jones

37

6-15

6-7

0-0

2

0

19

Henry

6

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Gamble

8

0-3

0-0

0-1

0

1

0

Smith

25

2-7

0-0

1-4

2

4

5

Bourne

22

0-1

2-4

2-4

0

3

2

L Brown

6

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

200

20-61

14-21

17-39

9

21

58

Percentages: FG .328, FT .667. 3-Point Goals: 4-22, .182 (Middleton 2-6, Smith 1-5, Jones 1-7, Jerome 0-2, Gamble 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 2 (Jones, Middleton). Turnovers: 9 (Morgan 2, Jones 2, Jerome, Bourne, Valentine, Middleton). Steals: 4 (Smith 2, Morgan, Bourne). Technical Fouls: None.

CAMPBELL

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Horton

14

2-3

0-0

0-1

0

1

5

Griffin

35

4-6

3-8

1-6

3

4

11

Celestin

6

3-3

0-1

0-0

0

0

6

Ryan

23

0-2

1-5

0-3

2

3

1

Merthie

27

5-8

0-2

0-4

3

1

14

Freeman

32

4-10

4-4

1-5

5

1

12

Ferguson

15

2-3

0-0

1-1

2

1

4

White

20

3-6

3-4

0-1

1

2

10

Harris

23

1-1

0-0

0-6

2

4

2

Kalpic

5

0-0

2-2

0-1

0

1

2

Totals

200

24-42

13-26

3-30

18

18

67

Percentages: FG .571, FT .500. 3-Point Goals: 6-15, .400 (Merthie 4-7, Horton 1-2, White 1-4, Freeman 0-1, Ryan 0-1). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 4 (Griffin 3, White). Turnovers: 12 (Griffin 3, Ferguson 3, White 2, Freeman, Kalpic, Harris, Merthie). Steals: 3 (Merthie 2, Griffin). Technical Fouls: None.

Winthrop

24

34

-

58

Campbell

30

37

-

67

Att.-2,672. Officials-Mike Eades, Tim Comer, J.W. Lucas.

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