ROCK HILL – Winthrop maintained its perch atop the Big South men’s basketball standings and dropped Presbyterian to its third loss in the last four conference games by defeating the Blue Hose, 72-57, on Saturday.
Winthrop (15-7, 8-0 conference) outscored the Blue Hose 30-9 during a 10-minute stretch in the second half to pull away from a close contest. Chris Martin led the offense with 13 points, and C.J. Melton pulled down down a team-leading nine rebounds.
The Eagles, led by 19 points from Hunter Hale, broke open a tight contest – Winthrop led 27-24 at halftime – outscored Presbyterian (8-13, 5-3) 45-33 in the second half.
PC hit three 3-pointers in the opening two and a half minutes of the second half, while Winthrop added two during the same stretch, the last one by Josh Ferguson at 17:31, to give the Eagles a 4-point lead.
Then Michael Isler of PC collected a basket and a free throw to cut the margin to one with just over 17 to go.
Unfortunatelly for the Blue Hose, Winthrop responded with a 14-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers, to take a 15-point lead. Ben Drake ended the Blue Hose drought, cutting the margin to 13, 38-51. The Blue never got closer.
Both teams struggled to shoot the ball well. Presbyterian shot 40 percent from the field, while Winthrop shot 41.5 percent. The Eagles outrebounded the Blue Hose 34-29. PC recorded 26 turnovers to Winthrop's 19.
The Blue Hose host USC Upstate on Thursday. The game will tip off at 7 p.m., and will air live on ESPNU and WPCC.