The Winthrop men and women’s basketball team kicked off the Eagles’ homecoming on Nov. 18 at the Winthrop Coliseum. The day started with the traditional tailgating on the South Lawn and continued with the women’s team playing South Carolina State University.
The women’s team took a loss of 65-37 against South Carolina State. The men, however, played Central Pennsylvania College and secured their first win of the season with a score of 106-65.
The Winthrop men’s team got the lead with the jump ball where freshman Kyle Zunic started the scoring.
The Eagles have seen an improvement in their defense strategies from the previous games of the season. They played as a unified team and kept their players open, which helped them work on passes, keep the ball in their hands and provided open shots.
The team held a strong defense along with many defensive and offensive rebounds keeping the ball in their court.
Senior Xavier Cooks scored a three-pointer in the first half keeping the Eagles in the lead for the first half of the game. Zunic scored his fourth three pointer of the game with a minute and a half left in the first half putting the Eagles in the lead at 54-22.
With 50 seconds left in the first half. Zunic threw the ball away before the Eagles made a defensive rebound seconds later. Smith makes the rebound and travels the court to score the final basket of the first half keeping the score at 59-22.
Bryan Dillon, of the Big South Network, spoke of Cooks’ performance at halftime.
“Cooks has been very active, been really able to attack the glass with a handful of offensive rebounds get into the paint and make contested shots and he’s been active in passing the ball with two assists and is really having a nice all around coming out of the first half,” Dillon said.
Central Penn started the second half with a single basket from a foul shot followed by a three pointer made by the Eagles. The Eagles gained a lead of 41 points just over 2 minutes into the second half.
half when Cooks got a defensive rebound. Sophomore Josh Ferguson couldn’t save the ball and ended up running off-court into the first row of the crowd.
Despite the loss of the ball, the Eagles were able to regain control after a Central Penn score and foul on the Eagles. Charles Falden, a freshman, made his second three-pointer of the game.
Falden continued his strong scoring seen in the second half by stealing the ball 11 minutes in and running the court to get another basket for the Eagles. Mitch Hill, a senior, scored a three-pointer with two minutes left in the game putting the score at 100-60 with the eagles still in the lead. Senior Kellen Blake and Hill managed to score the last two baskets for the Eagles, both being three pointers, of the game making the score 106-65, Eagles.
The homecoming win for the men’s team was a major achievement. This was the Eagles’ 400th win and senior player, Xavier Cooks’ 100th win with the team. The final score was 106-65 with 19 three pointers. According to Mike Pacheco, of the Big South Network, this was a new school record, beating the old record of 17.