A long losing streak at Winthrop continued for the Charleston Southern men's basketball team on Saturday as the Buccaneers dropped an 85-68 decision to the Eagles in a key early-season Big South Conference matchup.
Charleston Southern dropped to 7-8 overall and 1-1 in league play, while the Eagles improved to 8-6 overall and 2-0 in Big South games. The Buccaneers have not won at Winthrop since the 2001-02 season, a streak of 11 consecutive games.
Winthrop's shooting trio of Andre Smith, Christian Farmer and Keon Moore combined for 15 3-pointers as the Eagles torched the nets for a 53 percent clip. Moore led all scorers with 23 points, while Smith added 19 and Farmer 15.
Sheldon Strickland led CSU with 14 points off the bench, while point guard Saah Nimley added 13 points. Charleston Southern shot only 41 percent from the floor, including a 9-for-27 effort from beyond the arc. The top free throw-shooting team in the Big South made only 17 of 31 attempts from the charity stripe on Saturday.
"Winthrop scored 28 points off our turnovers and had 15 second-chance points, and when you allow 43 points to be scored off your own lack of execution, it's very tough to win," said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh. "Winthrop shot the ball well and we continue to struggle at defending the three. We have to keep working at it. We have a lot of work to do."
The two teams came into the game tied as the worst in the Big South in defending the three-point line, but CSU left the game in sole possession of last place in that category.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair as each team used big scoring runs to gain an advantage. Trailing 17-8 six minutes into the game, CSU rallied with a 21-7 run to take a 30-24 lead at the five minute mark of the half.
Winthrop, however, ended the half on an 18-8 run, including a 3-pointer from Smith at the buzzer to send the Eagles to a 42-38 halftime lead. Smith finished the half with 14 points.
Moore scored eight points in a 12-2 run to open the second half, and the Eagles built a 54-40 lead in the first four minutes of the period.
Again, CSU had an answer, going on an 11-0 spurt to pull within three at 54-51 with 13:33 remaining. Winthrop, however, would not wilt as Farmer led a 13-2 run with three of his five 3-pointers to push the advantage to 67-53 with 10:40 left in the contest.
Moore extended the lead to 17 at 74-57 with another 3-pointer with 7:15 remaining, and the Eagles led by as many as 22 points in cruising to the win.
"We lost today but it's a long conference season," said Radebaugh. "This is a very competitive league with a lot of parity. The team that executes and plays better will have the advantage. Today that team was Winthrop. But, we have a big week ahead of us. We need to be prepared and we need to play better than we did today."
Charleston Southern returns home for a pair of Big South games next week, hosting Presbyterian College on Wednesday and UNC Asheville on Saturday.