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Winthrop overcomes early challenges, runs away from Carver

ROCK HILL, S.C. – You won’t find anything from Saturday night’s proceedings in The Louvre. Things were sloppy at times – too many turnovers, too many fouls, too many of a lot of things. Winthrop forwards Cory Hightower and Chase Claxton missed the game, nursing injuries. The team has also been in the middle of final exams, with a few players even completing tests earlier in the day.

Let’s also not forget the fight shown by a winless school with an enrollment of fewer than 100, a team that has become somewhat of a barnstorming unit funding their athletics department by collecting checks from Division I schools for “buy” games.

When the final horn sounded, though, the result was as one might expect -- Winthrop left the deck with an 83-52 victory over Carver College in game three of the No Room for Racism Classic at the Rock Hill Sports & Event Center.

“At the end of the day, the desired outcome is what happened tonight,” said Winthrop coach Mark Prosser. “There are some things that we need to address on film – and we will. When you win a game, you celebrate every one. We’ll do that and move on to prepare for Elon on Monday.”

Winthrop (6-4) seized the advantage from the opening tip, cashing in a Pat Good transition triple just 53 seconds into the contest. The Eagles gradually worked the advantage to double digits on a Kelton Talford bucket at the 11:13 mark.

Carver (0-15) quickly responded, drawing the game level at 26 with 6:28 to play in the opening stanza on the strength of a 15-4 Cougar burst. Antwon Ferrell converted on an and-one for the tying points, which awakened the quasi-homestanding Eagles. A DJ Burns bucket set the stage for back-to-back Josh Corbin triples as the Eagles turned away multiple Cougar tries to level or take the lead.

“We’ve prepared so intensely and we compete every day. We trust what we do,” said Corbin after the game about the close stretch. “When we are in moments where it might not be going well right now or whatever the case is, we don’t ever – and that’s what I love about this team – shy away. We don’t ever start to panic or lose focus. We always just stay locked in and focus on the next thing – the next possession, whatever it is.”

“I don’t think it matters who we’re playing against. You’re not gonna see these guys get scared of much,” Prosser said. “It was what it was at 26-all, and I think that we had the desired response coming out of that, then made enough plays to stretch it out a little bit and walk out of here with our heads held high.”

The onslaught of Winthrop buckets continued as the period closed. The Eagles ended the half on an 18-5 run to take a 44-31 advantage to the interval. Corbin logged 15 points in the first half, aided by Talford’s nine points and four boards. Winthrop knocked down 57.1 percent (16-of-28) of its first-half attempts, helping on 11 of those buckets.

The game was never again in much doubt – the Eagles flexed their muscle and never again allowed the Cougars within single digits. The basket seemed to close off at times, with the teams enduring a combined 2-for-17 stretch that slowed down much of the second half. Both sides went greater than three minutes without a field goal before a Talford bucket drew a foul and broke the drought. Carver’s final field goal came on a Ferrell make with 4:03 remaining.

Corbin paced the Eagles with 19. Two Eagles also tallied career highs in the victory. Forward Kelton Talford topped his prior career high of 13, set against Mary Baldwin earlier in the season. The Great Falls, S.C., native also hauled in 11 boards for a double-double. Reserve guard Nate Buss contributed six, doubling his prior best. Burns finished just one carom shy of his own double-double, scoring 14 points and snaring nine rebounds.

“The thing for me which I love and I appreciate so much is that every time I shoot, my coaches think it’s going in and my teammates think it’s going in,” Corbin said of his performance. “I’ve never lost confidence in myself and my teammates and coaches have never lost confidence in me.”

Bryson Scott finished as one of the two Cougars in double figures, putting home 13 points and dishing four helpers. Ferrell added 11 in 30 reserve minutes.

Carver travels next to the Liberty Arena in Lynchburg, Virginia, to take on the Liberty Flames. Game time for Monday’s tip is set for 7:00 (Eastern). Winthrop also hits the road, traversing to the Schar Center in Elon, N.C. Game time for the Eagles and Elon Phoenix is 7:00 Wednesday evening.


CARVER (0-15): Auguste 2-3 1-2 5, B. Scott 6-15 1-2 13, Coley 2-6 2-3 6, Sims 1-2 2-2 4, D. Scott 2-12 1-2 6, Ferrell 4-6 2-2 11, Middlebrooks 0-0 0-0 0, Gary 0-0 1-2 1, Mayuen 0-1 0-0 0, Knight 2-6 2-2 6. Totals 19-51 12-17 52.

WINTHROP (6-4): Jones 1-5 2-2 4, Anumba 1-4 0-0 2, Good 2-5 0-0 5, Buggs 2-3 0-2 5, Burns 5-8 4-6 14, McMahon 3-6 1-2 8, Talford 5-7 6-6 16, Buss 1-5 3-3 6, King 1-5 2-3 4, Corbin 6-12 1-1 19. Totals 27-60 19-25 83.

Halftime — Winthrop 44-31. 3-Point Goals—Winthrop 10-32 (Jones 0-3, Anumba 0-2, Good 1-4, Buggs 1-1, McMahon 1-3, Buss 1-4, King 0-4, Corbin 6-11), Campbell 2-20 (B. Scott 0-4, Coley 0-1, Sims 0-1, D. Scott 1-8, Ferrell 1-3, Mayuen 0-1, Knight 0-2). Fouled Out — Coley (CAR), D. Scott (CAR). Rebounds — Winthrop 50 (Talford 11), Carver 22 (Auguste/Coley/D. Scott 3). Assists —Winthrop 14 (Buggs 4), Carver 7 (B. Scott 4). Total Fouls — Carver 24, Winthrop 19. Technical — NA. A —535.


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