Winthrop Keeps Perfect Record, Holds Off Fleming and Charleston Southern


EDITOR’S NOTE: Here at Stranded Sports, we are trying something new: Watching and writing recaps of college basketball games from smaller conferences and programs. During times like these, we believe that it is important to shed some light on all teams battling through the current circumstances, not just the big programs.

Charleston, S.C. -- Monday’s 85-69 win for Winthrop (9-0, 6-0 Big South) against Charleston Southern (1-7, 0-4 Big South) looked even tamer after Tuesday’s 78-76 affair. Although Winthrop walked away victorious for the second night in a row, getting to that win was a much trickier task than it was just 24 hours prior.

Buccaneers’ guard Phlandrous Fleming had one of the best collegiate games of his career, tallying 33 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort. It was his performance that propelled CSU into arguably their grittiest performance of the season.

Both sides combatted sloppy play during the early goings of the game. Just four minutes in, each team had turned the ball over three times.

The constant changing of possession created mayhem on the court and hindered either side from pulling ahead by any significant margin.

Josh Corbin managed to hit a three-pointer to give the Eagles an eight-point lead, 15-7. Fleming paced CSU and slowly drew them close to Winthrop on the scoreboard.

D.J. Burns then entered the game off of the bench for Winthrop and capitalized on his size by converting on an and-one and successfully sinking a hook shot as well.

Winthrop might have worked up a lead that flirted with ten points, but CSU continued to hit shots on their end that challenged the Eagles to continue pushing themselves.

They got that push on the offensive end, grabbing 11 offensive rebounds and providing themselves with more scoring chances as a result.

CSU finally got a big momentum boost when Emorie Knox and Fleming hit consecutive three-pointers to get the Winthrop lead down to four. Sean Price got a layup to drop and make the gap just two points.

Winthrop, who had won all but one Big South game by double-digits, led the one-win Buccaneers by a single possession at the half.

Fleming and Price were the driving forces behind the close gap, scoring 28 of the team’s 38 points. The previously mentioned ball security remained a talking point since each team had eight turnovers to its name after 20 minutes of play. Winthrop might not have made the most out of all of their possessions, but they were dominating on the board with 24 rebounds to CSU’s 15. This edge ensured that the Buccaneers were not able to capitalize on second chances in the way that they could.

Chandler Vaudrin committed a turnover that Fleming turned into a layup that put CSU in the lead. That lead was short-lived, as Winthrop again took control.

Both the Eagles and Buccaneers found success on offense and seemingly matched whatever the other side did on the offensive end. Continued close play led to some heated moments on the court, and a double-technical foul was handed out halfway through the half. The call provided Fleming with his fourth foul. CSU and Winthrop turned it up on the floor, playing fast-paced and intense basketball immediately after the double-technical.

Charles Falden, Winthrop’s leading scorer, hit a three moments after the call and ignited the Eagles’ bench. CSU’s bench welcomed Fleming after he fouled out with over four minutes remaining. His loss was significant, but Knox buried two three-pointers in crunch time to give CSU a chance to strike in the game’s final moments.

The final step of the comeback process evaded CSU, though, and the Buccaneers fell 78-76.

CSU shot 47.5% from the field, topping Winthrop by over 7%. The main difference can be found in the offensive rebound category, where the Eagles had an advantage of nine rebounds. Second chances allowed Winthrop to hold on and keep its lead while also killing more time.

Individually, Falden led Winthrop with 17 points. He was followed by Talford (12) and Vaudrin (11). Charleston Southern was led by Fleming (33), Price (16), and Knox (13).

It will be some time before Winthrop returns to the court since their weekend series against High Point was postponed. Instead of that series, the Eagles’ next game is set for Jan. 14 against Longwood.

Charleston Southern is set to tangle with Radford this Saturday and Sunday in an effort to return to the win column for the first time since Dec. 8.