ASHEVILLE, NC— Keon Johnson scored a career-high 40 points but Winthrop fell 104-101 in double-overtime at UNC Asheville, Thursday evening at Kimmel Arena.
The loss drops the Eagles to 18-6 on the year and 10-3 in the league while Asheville improves to 19-7 overall and 11-2 in the league. The Eagles will look to bounce back in a little less than 40 hours when it hosts Gardner-Webb on Saturday, Feb. 11 at noon.
Johnson scored 16 of his 40 points in the overtime periods as he finished the game 14-of-29 from the field and 7-for-7 from the foul line. Johnson hit two free throws midway through the second half to become the program’s all-time leading scorer, passing Charles Brunson’s mark of 1,850.
Winthrop had fallen behind 98-92 with just over two minutes left in the second overtime, but Johnson scored nine straight points to give Winthrop a 101-99 lead with 33.8 seconds left. Macio Teague answered for Asheville as he scored on a drive down the right side of the lane. Teague was fouled on the play and converted the free throw for the three-point play. Johnson had a good look with four seconds left in the game, but couldn’t get the shot to fall as Asheville boarded the miss and converted two free throws on the other end for the three-point lead.
After taking a 77-74 lead with 5.5 seconds left in regulation after Johnson hit two free throws, but Teague came down outside the top of the key, dribbled left and let a three fly as it swished through the net at the buzzer to force overtime.
In the first overtime Asheville grabbed a quick four-point lead but back-to-back threes from Bjorn Broman to take an 83-81 lead with 2:48 left. Teague responded with a straight-away three to regain the lead for Asheville before Anders Broman tied the game at 84-84 at the free throw line. Johnson had given the Eagles a 90-88 lead in overtime after a step back three from the left wing, but Ahmad Thomas’ stick back with 13 seconds tied the game.
Winthrop finished with four players in double-figures as Xavier Cooks had 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists before fouling out at the end of regulation. Bjorn Broman finished with 12 points and four assists whiles Anders Broman added 10 points and three assists off the bench. The Eagles finished the game shooting 55 percent from the field.
Thomas led the Bulldogs with 28 points and 10 rebounds while Teague finished with 24 points and five assists. All five starters finished in double-figures as Kevin Vannatta had 17 points, David Robertson had 15 points and Will Weeks added 14 points and 12 rebounds. Asheville finished the game shooting 49 percent and had a 24-10 advantage in second chance points.
Winthrop led in the early minutes of the game before Asheville grabbed the lead at 7-4 lead on a Teague three from the left wing. The Bulldogs led for the next 13 minutes before the Eagles battled back and took a 30-29 lead with 3:20 left. Winthrop finished the half outscoring the Bulldogs 8-4 over the final 3:40 to take a 35-34 lead at the break.
In addition to Johnson becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer, he became the 5th player in the history of the program to score 40 or more points in a game. It’s the first 40-point game since Michael Jenkins scored 40 on Nov. 10, 2006.