Winthrop University

It took two overtimes, but Winthrop sent its seniors out with a key victory

Winthrop students think Pat Kelsey is crazy. That’s okay as long as they attend games

Winthrop University (SC) basketball coach Pat Kelsey will do almost anything to get students to come to Eagles home basketball games. He showed that Jan. 31, 2019 during a quick tour around campus to promote the Winthrop-Radford game.
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Winthrop University (SC) basketball coach Pat Kelsey will do almost anything to get students to come to Eagles home basketball games. He showed that Jan. 31, 2019 during a quick tour around campus to promote the Winthrop-Radford game.

Winthrop outlasted Charleston Southern in an exhausting Senior Day game, likely the Eagles’ final action at the Coliseum this season.

Adam Pickett swished two free throws with 4.3 seconds left and Charleston Southern threw away its final possession in an 80-78 Eagles’ double overtime victory.

Pickett missed two key free throws earlier in the extra period, but kept his cool in the clutch. He led Winthrop with 20 points, Bjorn Broman had 15 and Josh Ferguson pitched in 14. Christian Keeling led the visitors with 22 points. The win keeps Winthrop in contention for the second seed in the Big South Conference tournament.

The Eagles fell behind 19-10 to a Charleston Southern team that Winthrop (18-10, 10-5 Big South) narrowly beat by four in the two teams’ first game. But the deficit was quickly erased with five consecutive 3-pointers, Bjorn Broman’s triple giving the Eagles their first lead, 25-24. Seven of the team’s first eight field goals were from 3-point land.

From there, neither side built a lead greater than two possessions. Dontrell Shuler drove straight to the rim and scored to tie the game at 68 with 12 seconds left. After a timeout, Winthrop should have had the last shot but guard Nych Smith was stripped on the way up and the game headed to overtime.

Neither team scored for over two and a half minutes of the first overtime. With about 30 seconds left, Pickett knifed into the lane but his funky layup bobbled out. Keeling rebounded and was fouled. The Buc standout hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it 71-69, leaving Winthrop with 15 seconds to get the win. Everyone in white jerseys cleared out of Pickett’s way and he got right to the rim for a layup that tied the score. The Bucs’ desperation 3 at the buzzer missed.

Broman hit a pair of 3s in the second overtime to put Winthrop in front and Pickett’s foul shots clinched a win that keeps the Eagles within touch of Campbell for the No. 2 seed in the conference tourney.

The contest against Charleston Southern (13-14, 7-7) was almost certainly the final home game for five seniors, Austin Awad, Nych Smith, Jermaine Ukaegbu Broman and Pickett. All five were recognized before the game, along with family members.

Broman and Pickett were four-year Eagles, while the other three played two years in Rock Hill after transferring from junior colleges. Broman and Pickett helped lead Winthrop to the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The class won its 50th home game Saturday.

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