The women’s and men’s basketball teams played at the Winthrop Coliseum on Saturday, November 17 as part of Winthrop’s 2018 homecoming festivities. Both teams played close games against their opponents, but neither came away with a win.
The women tipped off first, facing the Newberry College Wolves (Division II). Prior to the contest, Newberry was 3-0, while Winthrop was 1-2. During the first half, the Eagles made a measly 27.03 percent of their shots, but they did manage to make five three-pointers. Winthrop trailed by eight points after the first quarter and faced an eleven-point deficit at halftime. Despite rallying back during the second half, the Eagles could not complete a comeback, and lost 67-63.
One play Newberry ran several times placed a player in the corner of the court, setting them up for a three-point shot that Winthrop often left wide open. This was costly for the Eagles, as the Wolves made 10 three-pointers throughout the contest. Overall, even though the Eagles attempted 19 more shots than the Wolves, Newberry made six more. Only 28.8 percent of Winthrop’s shots went in the basket, compared to Newberry’s 50 percent shooting rate.
Not every stat from the women’s game was negative. Sophomore Anika Riley (12 points, 10 rebounds) and freshman Kem Nwabudu (10 points, 10 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles. The Eagles had more rebounds than the Wolves and committed fewer turnovers. They also logged 13 steals.
After the women’s game, the men took on the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers. ETSU scored the first six points and led 13-4 early in the contest. The Eagles came back, working their way up to a 24-19 lead, but by halftime they trailed again, 35-30. During the first half, senior Nych Smith carried the team, scoring 16 of Winthrop’s 30 points. The Eagles made 37.5 percent of their shots, but only two of their nine three-point attempts fell in.
The second half of the game was very much back and forth, as the teams exchanged leads several times. Both teams made five three-pointers during the second half, but Winthrop’s shooting percentage of 60.71 percent outshined ETSU’s 46.88 percent . With 3:41 left in the game, Winthrop led 71-64, but then allowed the Buccaneers to go on a 9-0 run. Winthrop regained the lead again, and with 26 seconds left to play the Eagles were up 74-73.
Winthrop inbounded the ball, but the next pass was intercepted by the Buccaneers. ETSU scored a layup followed by a free throw, giving them a two-point lead. At the buzzer, sophomore Kyle Zunic got off a three-point attempt, but it did not go in. The Eagles were out-rebounded 42-28 and committed 20 turnovers on their way to a 76-74 defeat.
While the outcome was not desirable, Winthrop’s men had some optimistic takeaways too. The Eagles had four players score double-digit points, led by Smith with 26. Winthrop also had eight blocks, with junior Josh Ferguson recording five himself. Ferguson also led the team with eight rebounds, while senior Bjorn Broman dished out a team high of five assists.
Both Winthrop squads look to bounce back in their games to come and hope to be prepared when conference play starts in January.