The Winthrop men couldn’t overcome a cold-shooting second half as it fell 65-50 at Campbell, on Thursday night in Big South Conference basketball action.
The loss ends Winthrop’s winning streak at three games. The Eagles (16-12, 11-6) will finish the regular season on Saturday at 1 p.m. on senior day when they host Presbyterian College.
“I thought Campbell was phenomenal,” said Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey. “I think you have to give Kevin (McGeehan) and his kid’s credit. They kicked our tail tonight and completely dictated the temp of the game. The game was played at the tempo that Campbell wanted it to be played in. They took it deep into the shot clock on most of their possessions.”
For the first time since Jan. 24 the Eagles trailed at the half as the Camels (10-20, 4-13) led 30-25, stopping the streak for Winthrop at eight games. The last time the Eagles trailed at the half was against Campbell at home, 33-30. Winthrop came back to win that game 71-63. It was also the first conference road game in which Winthrop did not lead at the break.
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Winthrop shot 46 percent from the floor in the first half, but just couldn’t get its shots to fall in the second half as it shot 31 percent and was 0-for-9 from three. In the process Campbell held the Eagles to their lowest point total of the season and the fewest number of threes made as Winthrop had not hit less than four all year.
Trailing by five at the break, the second half did not start off well for Winthrop as Campbell’s Reco McCarter came out and buried two threes to put the Camels ahead by 11 points. Freshman Xavier Cooks scored on an offensive stick back to cut the Campbell lead back to single-digits at nine points but McCarter hit two free throws with 16:50 left for a 38-27 lead. Winthrop was 2-for-7 from the field and committed two turnovers in the first five minutes of the second half which allowed Campbell to build a 13-point advantage.
Winthrop did get the deficit below 10 points one more time with 13:31 left in the game after a Keon Moore jumper, but Campbell responded with a 12-3 run and led 54-36 as Curtis Phillips capped off the run with a three-pointer.
“Instead of us executing our way out of trouble we tried to make heroic, quick shots to try to get back in,” said Kelsey. “We talk about executing our way out of trouble and we sure didn’t do that. I just think you really have to tip your cap and credit Campbell and Kevin on their game plan and their execution of it.”
Moore finished with a team-high 16 points as he also grabbed seven rebounds and five assists. Cooks joined Moore in double-figures with 13 points as he also had four rebounds and two blocks. Prescott chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds. Winthrop finished the game shooting 38 percent from the field and was just 2-for-17 behind the arc.
McCarter led all scorers with 17 points as he also grabbed four rebounds and dished out six assists. Andre Ryan added 14 points while Quinton Ray had 11 points and Phillips added 10. Campbell shot 49 percent for the game, 8-for-22 from three and was 13-for-20 at the foul line. The Camels had the advantage on the boards 37-28.
Winthrop was off to a good start with an early 6-0 lead after hitting its first three shots but missed its next six shots and found itself trailing 9-6 before Duby Okeke’s basket inside with 11:43 left in the half. Winthrop was scoreless for a span of six minutes and 23 seconds following its early 6-0 spurt until Okeke’s bucket.
Campbell tried to pull away from the Eagles on several occasions but the Eagles seemed to get the answer their needed to keep the game close. The game was tied at 13-13 with 8:19 to play after Cooks went 1-for-2 at the foul line. Ryan buried a contest three on the ensuing possession for Campbell but Andre Smith answered right back with a deep three from the wing.
With 3:42 left in the half the Eagles led 23-22 after Tevin Prescott knocked down a base line jumper, but were outscored 8-2 the rest of the way and trailed at the break despite shooting 46 percent from the floor. Campbell shot 48 percent in the first half and was 4-for-12 from three as it scored 16 of its 30 points in the paint.