Could Winthrop basketball beat Gardner-Webb for a 10th straight time?
Winthrop let an 18-point first half lead slip in a 99-91 men’s basketball loss to Presbyterian Saturday in Clinton, S.C.
The Eagles couldn’t contain Presbyterian freshman Adam Flagler (28 points) and senior Francois Lewis (22), both of whom made key shots late in the game when the Blue Hose made its move. And PC point guard Davon Bell had 18 points and 15 assists. Winthrop’s Nych Smith scored 35 points but PC broke a 10-game losing streak to the Eagles.
Pat Kelsey’s team encountered a much-improved Presbyterian program, which, having won 12 games so far, had already topped its win total for every season since the 2012-13 campaign.
The Eagles led 55-44 at the break, after busting open a close game with a 26-7 run. Smith hit consecutive 3s to put the Eagles up 31-27, then hit two more. Austin Awad and Bjorn Broman also nailed triples during the eruption that resulted in a 51-33 lead. Smith hit five 3s in the first half and had 22 points at the break. As a team, Winthrop hit 10 treys in the first 20 minutes.
Presbyterian started the second half better than Winthrop and Adam Flagler’s 3 tied the score at 74 with about eight minutes left. Davon Bell’s finish on the next play gave the Blue Hose the lead and prompted a Winthrop timeout. Another Blue Hose spurt pushed its lead to 86-78 with a couple of minutes left. Flagler and Lewis hit crucial 3-pointers to help Presbyterian pull away late.
The Presbyterian game was Winthrop’s fifth in 10 days. The Eagles (14-7, 6-2 Big South) now have a full week to get their legs back beneath them, before a critical Big South game Saturday, Feb. 2 at home against league leaders, Radford.
Women win fifth conference game
The Winthrop women fell to Hampton by 21 points in their battle for second place in the Big South standings earlier in the week. At home Saturday against Presbyterian, they got back in the win column with a 55-52 victory over the Blue Hose. Jah’Che Whitfield, who was named Big South freshman of the week last week, was the only Eagle in double figures, with 13. Miquela Santoro and Essence Cowan both had eight.
Presbyterian’s Kacie Hall led all scorers with 24 points. But the Blue Hose only got seven points from their bench, while Winthrop got 24. Hall’s 3-pointer inside the last minute cut Winthrop’s lead to 53-52, and the Eagles turned the ball over on their next possession. But they got a defensive stop, then Anika Riley made both free throws with 12 seconds left to ice the Winthrop win.
The Eagle women (9-10, 5-3 Big South) have just two days to prepare for their next game, Tuesday, Jan. 29 at High Point.