Winthrop won the last five minutes of Wednesday’s close encounter with Presbyterian College, en route to a 93-85 victory at the Coliseum.
Winthrop (17-8, 9-3 Big South) guards led the way in a win that solidified the Eagles’ hold on second place in the Big South Conference. Adam Pickett (23 points), Nych Smith (22), Bjorn Broman (19) and Charles Falden (14) scored 84 percent of the Eagles’ points. Falden started for the third game in a row, and hit double figures for the third straight game, while Pickett had 12 rebounds.
“They’re a great offensive team,” Smith said about Presbyterian. “Our main focus coming in was getting stops and we were able to do that, especially in the second half.”
The two teams scored a combined 200 points in their first meeting back in January. It was Presbyterian (15-12, 7-5) that surged late in a 99-91 win that bruised Winthrop’s regular season title hopes.
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And they were well on pace to hit that mark again Wednesday night, the Blue Hose leading 48-46 at the half. The visitors made 9-of-14 shots from 3-point range and led by as many as 14 points, thanks in part to Francois Lewis, who scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half. Lewis hit one 3 right in front of the Winthrop bench and said something to Eagles coach Pat Kelsey, which drew the coach’s ire.
“The last game was kind of like that when we were up at their place,” said Broman. “So we knew that was coming. They punched us first. I thought we responded well.”
A 10-0 Winthrop run later in the half, sparked by back to back Broman 3s, helped the Eagles climb back into the contest before the break.
The second half went back and forth, each team taking turns surging ahead, then falling behind. The game was tied at 79 with about six minutes left when Winthrop scored the next six points. Smith, Broman and Pickett all finished off drives to the basket with two points, Pickett’s Euro-step move the prettiest of the bunch and forced a Presbyterian timeout with 3:39 left.
Winthrop’s final scoring burst coincided with a frigid finish by the Blue Hose. They made just two of their last 13 shots.