The College of Charleston isn't exactly dedicated to playing hard on the defensive end, and the Cougars sometimes throw the ball around like it's a hot rock.
But the Cougars can shoot, and they hung around Monday night by making 12 of 26 3-pointers and 17 of 32 free throws, then got the game to the wire and made the plays that mattered in the final minute to beat Winthrop 77-76 and send the Eagles (1-9) to their ninth straight loss.
"We hung on for dear life," Charleston coach Bobby Cremins said. "They outplayed us. We couldn't stop them. We got the breaks at the end."
And the Cougars finally saw Winthrop's Charles Corbin miss a shot. Cremins was wondering if a recruiting miss was going to come back to haunt him. He had recruited the 6-foot-7 Corbin, but Corbin canceled his visit once he visited Winthrop.
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On Monday night, he almost canceled the Cougars' eight-game winning streak, making his first 11 shots and scoring a career-high 22 points.
"The rim felt like the ocean," Corbin said. "I was feeling it."
He was almost enough.
His last field goal came with 2:12 to play to give Winthrop a 76-75 lead, but that would also be Winthrop's last field goal, although Corbin would get two more chances.
After taking the lead, the Eagles got two straight defensive stops, but Corbin missed an 8-foot jumphook that was probably too quick. Reggie Middleton, who finished with 15 points and five assists, had to force a shot up in the lane under a lot of pressure with the shot clock running down.
At the other end, Andrew Goudelock, who had 21 points for the Cougars, got up a shot just outside the lane that rattled off the rim. Antwaine Wiggins came out of a scramble in the lane with the rebound and followed the miss to give the Cougars the 77-76 lead.
"That loose-ball rebound was something," Cremins said.
Yeah, it was.
"I didn't think I was going to get it," Wiggins said. "I just threw it up and it went in."
Corbin got another chance on a play the Eagles had scored on twice earlier, but missed another jumphook with 11 seconds left. Corbin said even the last two shots "felt good."
Cameron Stanley fouled Jermaine Johnson on the rebound, and Johnson missed both free throws with 10.4 seconds left, giving Winthrop one more chance.
With no timeouts left, Middleton pushed the ball up the left side and found Mantoris Robinson open in the left wing, but his 3-pointer rattled off the rim and the Cougars got the rebound.
"I'd have run the same play," Winthrop coach Randy Peele said of Corbin's second miss. "He got a great look. And I told Reggie, when we didn't have a timeout, to blow up the court and attack the elbow. Mantoris had a great look, it just didn't go down for him."
It was one of the few shots that didn't for the Eagles, who shot a season-high 55 percent. It was their best shooting game since a 56-percent effort against Presbyterian last January.
The Eagles held their own on the boards, tied their season low with eight turnovers and made a respectable 4 of 12 3-pointers. Middleton and the other guards, especially walkon Chad Dewitt, who played 29 minutes and had six points and six rebounds, handled Charleston's pressure. It was Dewitt's first action since the season opener.
The Eagles executed their offense, almost at will. They scored on 15 of their final 16 possessions of the first half, but led just 44-41 at the break.
Charleston's 3-point shooting and their ability to get to the free throw line were enough to keep the win within reach.
"We're still having trouble guarding the ball, and they were able to spread us out and get too many open threes," Peele said. "I tell my team if you get doubled at the free throw line you'll lose and we got tripled and we only lost by one."
The Eagles made 6 of 10 free throws, but they shot so many uncontested shots in the lane it was difficult to get fouled. The Cougars didn't exactly challenge every shot.
It was the second straight positive performance for the Eagles, even though both were losses.
"I told the team we played 37 minutes of good basketball at Old Dominion, and tonight we played 38 minutes and 30 seconds," Peele said. "The bottom line is, we're getting better.
"I have no beef with our effort, and I'm not going to listen to the naysayers. The kids just have to keep the faith. I'm not discouraged. This was a hell of an effort."