Winthrop Men's Basketball Loses to Wofford

Winthrop Loses to Wofford After Slow Start

ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Everyone knows the old phrase about almost only counting in horseshoes. 
Winthrop almost pulled victory from the jaws of defeat in a game which they trailed by as many as 20 points with 9:01 remaining, before finally falling 62-56 to Wofford in front of 944 fans at Winthrop Coliseum on Saturday.
The Winthrop offense never got on track in the first half, hitting just 5-of-22 shots (22.7 percent) in the period. The Eagles missed all seven three-point attempts and turned the ball over 12 times in the half. Wofford, on the other hand, made good use of their offensive opportunities. The Terriers hit 13-of-29 shots in the first half (44.8 percent), despite struggling from the perimeter. Just one of Wofford’s eight shots from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes found the net. 
The homestanding Eagles found some momentum as the halftime buzzer sounded, as Winthrop forward Larry Brown threw down a thunderous dunk after a steal to cut the Wofford lead to 32-17. The clubs traded baskets for the first four minutes of the second half, before a 12-2 Terrier run put Wofford ahead 49-29. That 20-point advantage was the largest lead of the day for the Terriers and was matched when Wofford took a timeout with a 57-37 lead and 4:15 remaining.
Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey almost completely changed his team’s lineup at that timeout, inserting walk-ons Carlin Bremner, Donovan Carter and Tevin Prescott to go along with guards Christian Farmer and Keon Johnson. What happened next almost became miraculous.
The “rag-tag” group, as described by Eagle radio voice Chris Miller, almost immediately got a three-point play from Prescott on a basket and foul from Wofford guard Indiana Faithfull. Winthrop continued to chip away on nearly every possession, finding ways to get to the line to score with no time coming off the clock. The Eagles played the final 6:52 with no timeouts remaining. Johnson added two three-point baskets and assisted on another by Farmer, as the Eagles continued their 19-3 run. Winthrop got two free throws from Johnson to cut the lead to four with nine seconds remaining. After the Eagles forced a turnover on the inbounds pass, a Wofford steal off the ensuing inbounds attempt saw Terrier forward Lee Skinner get fouled. Skinner sank both free throws to provide the final margin.
“Obviously the last five minutes of the game, the frantic run that we went on, I was proud of the group of guys that were on the floor. They played in a manner with which you’re supposed to play when you wear a Winthrop jersey, and I was proud of the effort that those guys put forth,” said Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey. “Those kids that were on the floor at the end of the game exemplify what it means to be a Winthrop basketball player.”  Kelsey spoke further of his team’s performance, saying, “At the end of the day, I think there wasn’t enough of an urgency overall until that last five or six minutes, and again, that’s on me, that’s on me as a coach to make sure that that doesn’t happen. I would never point the finger at our guys. It’s on me that they didn’t play hard enough. I should have had them more ready.”
Wofford shot 37.5 percent (21-for-56) from the floor on the contest, making just 8-of-27 shots in the second half. The Terriers were only successful on two of 15 three-point attempts. Wofford attempted 27 free-throws, converting 18 (66.7 percent). Guard Spencer Collins led the Terriers with 19 points, hitting six of his 12 shots. Forward Lee Skinner and guard Karl Cochran joined Collins in double figures, both scoring 13 points.  Skinner added 11 rebounds in the game.
Winthrop’s hot second half resulted in a 17-for-47 (36.2 percent) shooting performance on the game. The Eagles hit 7-of-19 three-point attempts (7-of-12 in the second half).  Winthrop made 16 of 21 free throws (76.2 percent). Johnson was the only Eagle in double figures, scoring 18 points in 29 minutes of play.
Wofford (4-7) returns to action after the holiday break against High Point at Benjamin Johnson Arena in Spartanburg, South Carolina at 7:00 pm Eastern on Monday, December 30th. Winthrop (6-4) will travel to Hampton, Virginia to take on the Hampton University Pirates at 2:00 pm Eastern on Sunday, December 29th.