Winthrop drained 15 three-pointers and held Charleston Southern to 38 percent second half shooting to pull away for a 85-68 win at Winthrop Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
In a matchup between the Big South's top two three-point shooting teams, it was the Eagles that got the better of the Bucs. Keon Moore, Andre Smith and Christian Farmer combined to go 15-of-23 from beyond the arc as Winthrop (8-6, 2-0) shot 52 percent overall and held CSU (7-8, 1-1) to just a 2-of-12 clip from three after halftime.
Moore paced all scorers with 23 points, and Smith scored 14 of his 19 in the first half. CSU was led by 14 points off the bench from senior Sheldon Strickland, while Saah Nimley added 13 and five assists. Arlon Harper chipped in 11 points, but was quiet for much of the day while attempting only six shots.
"Defensively, we really struggled to stop them," CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh said. "They gave us some of our own medicine hitting 15 threes. We tried to play some zone early and that didn't go too well for us because they made threes. They've got good shooters and they're a lot freer shooting the ball than they have been. It was just a very good performance by them and a poor one for us."
The Bucs trailed 42-38 at halftime and quickly found themselves in a 14-point second half hole before rallying to within three courtesy of an 11-0 run. A Strickland trey cut the deficit to 54-51 with 13:35 remaining, but that was as close as CSU would come. Farmer buried two threes as part of a quick 8-0 spurt and Winthrop posted a 20-6 run overall to close out CSU.
The Eagles also benefited off 14 Bucs' turnovers, posting a 28-11 advantage in points off turnovers. CSU has not won at Winthrop Coliseum since January of 2002, a stretch of 11 games.
"You can't turn the ball over like that and expect to win. They had 28 points off turnovers and 15 off second chance. That's 43 points that we lost by not boxing out and by turning the ball over. We have to regroup and get ready for a big game Wednesday against Presbyterian."
Trailing 54-40, Matt Kennedy began CSU's 11-0 run with a three-point play in the lane. Five different players scored during the spurt, which Strickland punctuated with a triple from the corner. Farmer connected on three treys in a stretch of just 2:30, though, enabling Winthrop to open up a 14-point advantage.
CSU came back within ten following a pair of free throws from Nimley and a turn-around jumper by Cedrick Bowen, but Winthrop netted seven in a row and cruised the rest of the way.
Both teams were red-hot from three-point range in the opening half. The Bucs jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind an early three from Paul Gombwer and a free throw from Nimley. Winthrop would answer with six consecutive points to take a 6-4 lead as Moore went to work on the offensive boards, putting back a Smith miss to give Winthrop its first lead. Moore had 10 points in the opening half.
Farmer and Smith each connected on threes to help Winthrop put together an 11-0 run to take a 17-8 lead in the game's opening ten minutes.
The Buccaneers ended the run as Kennedy knocked down a three from the right wing on a feed from Harper as he went floating along the baseline. A three-point play from Nimley and a three from Harper helped the Bucs retake the lead as they put together a 21-7 run.
Strickland capped the spurt with a three-pointer and a free throw to give CSU a 29-24 edge with 5:40 to play in the opening half.
Winthrop answered a late CSU three from Saunders with back-to-back threes of its own with the shot clock and game clock running down. Farmer hit a long three from the top of the key with 46 seconds left in the half to give the Eagles a 39-38 edge. Following a CSU turnover on its final possession of the half, Smith knocked down a deep three from the wing as the first-half clock expired to build the advantage to 42-38 at the half.
CSU returns home for three of its next four games, beginning Wednesday against Presbyterian. Tipoff at the Buc Dome is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.