Bjorn Broman scored a career-high 29 points, but Winthrop dropped its first conference game with an 85-79 loss at Radford on Wednesday.
The Eagles, 7-6 overall and 1-1 in the Big South, trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half before closing the gap late.
Radford, 9-6 overall and 2-0 in the Big South, got 23 points and 12 rebounds from Ed Polite Jr. Randy Phillips and Christian Bradford added 15 and 12 points, respectively for the Highlanders.
In addition to Broman’s team-high 29 points for Winthrop, Anders Broman had 13 points and Xavier Cooks had 11 points and six rebounds.
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Trailing 64-44 early in the second half, the Eagles reeled off seven straight points, including a Broman three to pull within 13 points with 9:39 to play. But Polite Jr. answered with back-to-back triples for a 70-51 Highlanders lead.
With 3:08 to play, Winthrop cut the deficit to 12 points as Cooks found Adam Pickett in the corner and he buried a three.
Broman scored on the drive on the next possession to cut it to 10 points at 76-66 with 2:20 left. After Radford went back up by 12, Cooks made two free throws to make it a 10-point game again with 1:58 to play.
The Eagles got the miss they needed on the ensuing Radford possession, but Randy Phillips grabbed two straight offensive rebounds and hit a layup for an 80-68 lead with 1:22 left.
Josh Ferguson scored with 1:05 left to make it a 10-point game again.
Calik Jones made the first of the one-and-one for an 11-point lead. Cooks lost the ball driving in the lane and Radford hit two free throws for an 83-70 lead.
Back-to-back threes by Broman made it a seven-point game with 16 seconds left. Broman hit another three with four seconds to make it a six-point game.
In the first half, Winthrop made four of its first six shots of the game (three from behind the arc) and trailed 12-11 with 16:03 left. Radford then reeled off 11 straight points as the Eagles went cold from the floor. The shooting woes continued for the Eagles as they hit just three of their next 21 shots.
After a Bjorn Broman three that made it a 24-14 lead for Radford, the Highlanders went on a 10-2 run sparked by threes from Polite and Justin Cousin.
The bench for Radford was a big key for the big first half offensively, outscoring the Eagle bench 24-3.
Winthrop plays a second consecutive road game as it travels to Buies Creek, N.C., to take on Campbell at 2 p.m. Saturday.