The Winthrop Eagles seemed to have an answer every time the Blue Hose put together a rally and earned the 67-53 win over the Presbyterian College men’s basketball team in the Quarterfinals at the Big South tournament being held Mar. 3-6, in Buies Creek, N.C. With the Blue Hose making their first ever appearance in the tournament quarterfinals, DeSean Murray posted his 18th 20-point game with a team-leading 24 points.
The Blue Hose end the season at 11-20 overall, with the Eagles improving to 22-8 and advancing to the Big South Tournament Semifinals.
Shots were hard to come by for both teams much of the first half, with the Blue Hose and Eagles in the 20s in shooting percentage until a 12-0 run by Winthrop late in the frame helped them end the half with 33%. PC shot 28% after hitting eight-of-29 from the field. The Eagles were 10-of-30.
After scoring the game’s opening eight points over a span of two and a half minutes, the Blue Hose went cold, recording just 11 the remainder of the half, three of them coming off a three from Janeil Jenkins as time expired to cut a Winthrop eight-point lead to just five at the break, 24-19.
Trailing by four, 16-12, with 5:50 remaining, the Eagle offense clicked with a 12-0 run, ignited by two dunks from Duby Okeke, to take their first lead of the game and extend it to eight, 24-16, just under a minute to play.
Winthrop scored the second half’s first four points to build a nine-point 28-18 lead, but Reggie Dillard responded with his first three of the game to cut the margin to six, 18:49 left.
Over the next two four minutes PC scored just two, in a Winthrop 13-2 run that saw the Eagles take their largest lead of the game to that point, 17, 41-24, 14:58 to play.
Trailing again by 17 with 14:10 remaining, the Blue Hose hit four-of-four over the next minute, which included a three from Darius Moore, to cut Winthrop’s lead to just nine, 43-34, 12:45 left.
Back to back Winthrop turnovers result in back to back PC baskets to make it an eight point game, 10:57 to go. Terry is fouled on a three-point attempt and converts one as PC cuts the margin to seven, 45-38, 10:12 on the clock.
Baskets by Murray and Ed Drew cut the lead to five, but Jimmy Gavin’s three at 7:50 kicks the margin back to eight, 50-42.
Winthrop got its perimeter game going a little, hitting three three-pointers in a span of two minutes to help the Eagles build the lead back to 12, 56-44, 5:41 remaining.
A nine-point game again after Drew hit two free throws with 4:28 on the clock, the Eagles took it back up to double-digits off a Price lay-up at 3:22. PC would cut it to 10 several times afterwards but clutch Winthrop free throws kept the Blue Hose at bat down the stretch as the Eagles came away with the 67-53 win.
Following Murray’s 24 points was Drew with 10 points and 11 rebounds for his second career double-double. Winthrop was led by Gavin with 21 points and eight boards.
PC shot 37.5% in the second half to finish with 32.8% for the game. The Eagles hit 39.0%, and were eight-of-28 from the perimeter, compared to three-of-16 for the Blue Hose. Rebounds were close as Winthrop held the 42-40 advantage, while the turnover margin belonged to the Blue Hose 12-10. The Eagles had a 19-2 advantage in fast break points.