The Winthrop Eagles were never seriously in doubt during the Big South Championship against the Campbell Fighting Camels. Even though Campbell is one of the better named teams in college hoops, they were no match for Pat Kelsey’s squad.

After jumping out to a 12 to 2 advantage in the first five minutes, Winthrop easily settled in on their home floor never trailing in the game. A 21-21 tie was followed by an Eagle run to end the half giving them a 41 to 34 lead.  Tournament MVP Keon Johnson buried a 3-pointer to open the second half scoring, and the lead would never be in single digits again. The final ended up being 76 to 59.

Johnson led the champs with 26 points and 5 rebounds and is undoubtedly someone to keep an eye on in the round of 64. Xavier Cooks also put in a great effort tallying 17 points and 14 rebounds on 5 of 7 shooting. Also, we’d be remiss if we didn’t send props to Chris Clemons of Campbell who went for 29 to lead all scorers. In four tournament games the sophomore went for 27, 51, 33, and 29. Wowzah.

After falling in the Big South final in three straight seasons, Pat Kelsey was finally able to break through and get his team into the Big Dance. We wrote earlier how this could be a springboard for him to take a high major job this offseason.

BracketMatrix.com, an aggregation of bracketologists, has the Eagles as a 14 seed. Joe Lunardi of ESPN has them currently facing off with Florida State in the 3/14 matchup in the East Region at the Orlando site. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has Winthrop paired with Baylor (also 3/14) in the West Region, Tulsa site.

Congrats to the Winthrop Eagles for making the NCAA Tournament, they are only six wins from a national title!

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