ROCK HILL, S.C. – The conditions outside the Winthrop Coliseum Sunday afternoon were spring-like; sunny skies, with temperatures in the mid-60s. Inside, though, icy shooting conditions marred the first half.
A thaw came for the second half, though, as Winthrop placed all five starters in double figures on the way to a 79-64 victory over visiting Longwood in front of an announced crowd of 2,331.
“The game was kind of a little bit of a tale of two halves,” said Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey. “It was one of those tests where you have to try to maintain your discipline on the defensive end, even though your shot’s not falling.”
Winthrop (18-9, 12-4 Big South) endured a tough shooting stretch in the opening twenty, as Longwood’s defensive activity combined with shots not falling to limit the Eagles’ productivity. The Lancers held the Eagles to just 28.1 percent shooting (9-for-32) in the first half, with just 4-of-17 tries (23.5 percent) from three finding the net. Longwood (6-23, 3-13) also struggled a bit in the period, converting on just 39.3 percent (11-for-28) of its attempts. The game remained close, with Winthrop’s largest lead only seven. The Eagles headed to the locker room up just 32-28.
The highlight of the first half, though, came at the second media break. Winthrop dubbed Sunday’s contest First Responders Appreciation Day, and the officers wounded in a shooting that took the life of York County detective Michael Doty took the floor to be honored. Sgt. Randy Clinton, Sgt. Buddy Brown and Sgt. Kyle Cummings received a rousing ovation from those in attendance. Winthrop even eschewed its timeout to honor the fallen and wounded officers.
“You see those guys literally sacrificing their lives to protect others,” said Winthrop guard Anders Broman. “It’s kind of silly. All we do is we put a ball in a hoop. That means nothing in the grand scheme of things, compared to what they’re doing. Just to be able to thank them and show them the support that they need and that they’ve earned, it’s just really special.”
“I think it was just a respect factor,” added forward Josh Ferguson. “They’re risking their lives every day. We couldn’t be in our seats while they were getting recognized for the things they do.”
The Lancers’ B.K. Ashe halved Winthrop’s interval margin just 10 seconds into the period, knocking down two free throws. Following a Winthrop turnover, Longwood had the chance to tie the contest, but Winthrop fronted Longwood’s Damarion Geter on the left baseline, forcing a turnover. A frenetic sequence ensued, with Longwood fouling on back-to-back three-point conversions. Winthrop raced to an 11-0 run off the makes, with Anders Broman scoring seven of the points in the burst.
“We got on a little roll there, [and] got some stops,” said Broman. “When you get stops, you start to get momentum, and then it starts rolling.”
“We say all the time, when we string stops together is when we can really expand our lead,” added Kelsey.
Longwood went on a 6-0 run of its own a few minutes later, cutting the Winthrop lead to seven at 49-42. The Eagles gradually separated from the Lancers, though, using a 9-1 run to extend the margin to 19 and largely put the contest out of reach.
Longwood, who had only eight players available following the suspension of guard Isaiah Walton and the effects of a knee injury to forward Jordan Cintron, had two scorers finish in double figures. Guard B.K. Ashe finished with 21 points on 6-of-19 shooting, adding five rebounds and two assists. Guard Charles Glover added 12 for the Lancers. Longwood finished the game shooting 42.3 percent (22-for-52) from the floor, connecting on just 6-of-22 tries from distance.
Anders Broman led Winthrop with 16 points in 33 minutes. Guard Adam Pickett finished with 14, his 12 first-half points largely keeping his team in the contest. Forwards Xavier Cooks and Josh Ferguson tallied 13 apiece, with Ferguson adding 13 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Bjorn Broman contributed 11, adding four assists and three boards. Winthrop rebounded from its first-half woes to shoot 56.7 percent (17-for-30) in the closing stanza, finishing at 41.9 percent (26-for-62) for the contest.
Both teams hit the road to return to league play Thursday night. Longwood travels to High Point to take on the Panthers in a 7:00 (Eastern) start. Winthrop travels to take on UNC Asheville in a game that will likely determine the regular-season Big South champion and site for the conference tournament, which begins with play-in games next Tuesday night. That game is slated to begin at 7:00 and will be televised over ESPNU.
WINTHROP 79, LONGWOOD 64
LONGWOOD (6-23, 3-13 BIG SOUTH): Franklin 3-5 0-0 7, Geter 3-5 0-0 6, Ashe 6-19 7-9 21, Chapman 0-3 0-0 0, Glover 5-11 1-2 12, Ezeani 1-1 0-0 2, Smith 2-4 2-2 7, Shields 2-4 4-4 9. Totals 22-52 14-17 64.
WINTHROP (18-9, 12-4): Cooks 4-9 4-6 13, Ferguson 4-9 5-7 13, A. Broman 6-15 1-1 16, B. Broman 3-7 2-2 11, Pickett 5-11 2-2 14, Pupavac 0-0 0-0 0, Blake 1-1 0-1 2, Hill 0-0 0-0 0, Falden 0-2 0-0 0, Zunic 1-2 0-0 3, Awad 2-5 0-0 5, Scerbinskis 0-1 0-0 0, Erps 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 26-62 16-20 79.
Halftime — Winthrop 32-28. 3-Point Goals—Longwood 6-22 (Franklin 1-1, Ashe 2-8, Chapman 0-2, Glover 1-5, Smith 1-3, Shields 1-3), Winthrop 11-30 (Cooks 1-3, Ferguson 0-1, A. Broman 3-7, B. Broman 3-7, Pickett 2-5, Falden 0-1, Zunic 1-1, Awad 1-4, Scerbinskis 0-1). Fouled Out — Cooks (WU). Rebounds —Winthrop 36 (Ferguson 13), Longwood 33 (Geter 9). Assists — Winthrop 13 (B. Broman 4), Longwood 9 (Geter 4). Total Fouls — Longwood 20, Winthrop 14. Technical — NA. A — 2331.
Points in the Paint —Longwood 26, Winthrop 24. Points off Turnovers —Winthrop 18, Longwood 9. Second-Chance Points — Winthrop 10, Longwood 4. Fast Break Points — Longwood 2, Winthrop 2. Bench Points — Longwood 18, Winthrop 12.