Winthrop holds off Campbell 72-63

Chris Clemons 
(ScarboroughPhotography.com)
Chris Clemons (ScarboroughPhotography.com)

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Box Score (PDF)

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Keon Johnson scored 22 points and Winthrop held off Campbell late to earn a 72-63 win in Big South Conference action Saturday at Gore Arena.

Xavier Cooks added 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for Big South pre-season favorite Winthrop (13-4, 5-1), which won its fourth-straight and the ninth in the last 10 games.

Chris Clemons topped Campbell (10-8, 3-3) with 16 points, including 4-of-9 threes, while Kyre' Hamer added 15 and Shane Whitfield had 12, plus 7 rebounds.

Winthrop used a 9-1 run around halftime to build a double-digit lead and went up by 12 (64-52) on Adam Pickett's basket with 7:28 remaining.

Campbell, however, whittled away at the Winthrop lead as the Eagles went 6:37 without a basket. Clemons' pullup jumper cut the lead to 66-57 with 2:13 remaining. On the next possession, Hamer stole the ball, and fed Whitfield, who found Marcus Burk for a layup on the break to trim the gap to five with 1:35 to play.

Winthrop then lost possession on the ensuing in-bound, but Bjorn Broman blocked Hamer's attempt on a drive in the lane.  Johnson then answered with a three-pointer at the end of the shot clock to push the edge back to eight (69-61) with 51 seconds to go.

Clemons drove to the rim, but Tevin Prescott blocked his attempt and Johnson made two free throws with 36 seconds remaining to seal just the second Winthrop victory ever in nine trips to Buies Creek.

The Big South pre-season player of the year, Johnson hit 5-of-9 threes, and 7-of-17 shots on the night.  Clemons, who entered the game as the nation's fourth leading scorer at 23.6 points per game, made 6-of-18 from the field, but was limited to 27 minutes due to first half foul trouble.

Winthrop shot 48 percent from the field on the afternoon, made 8-of-21 threes (.381) and 14-of-25 (.560) from the line, but finished with a 19-7 edge in points off turnovers and a 28-14 advantage in scoring in the lane.

After shooting 55 percent in the opening half, Campbell made just 9-of-33 (.273) attempts in the second period to finished at 38 percent (21-55) for the game. The Camels made 8-of-19 threes (.421) and 13-of-16 (.813) from the stripe.

Neither team led by more than seven in a first half where both teams made better than half of their shots.  Winthrop led 42-36 at the break after hitting 56.7 percent from the floor, including 6-of-12 treys.

The Camels continue their two-game home stand Thursday with a 7 p.m. start against High Point.