Winthrop Wins Big South, Earns Bid To Big Dance

Bradshaw's hook shot with 9.1 seconds left lifts Winthrop

March 4, 2006

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) - Craig Bradshaw buried a soft hook shot with 9.1 seconds left to help Winthrop beat Coastal Carolina 51-50 in the Big South Conference title game on Saturday to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

It is the second straight Big South title for the Eagles (23-7) and sixth in coach Gregg Marshall's eight years.

Coastal Carolina (20-10) had taken a 47-44 lead before James Shuler hit a 3-pointer to tie it. Phillip Williams then added to free throws with 56.1 seconds left to give the Eagles a 49-47 lead.

Colin Stevens, a 5-foot-9 guard who came to Coastal Carolina as a walk-on, made a 3 with 35.1 seconds left to give the Chanticleers a 50-49 advantage.

Winthrop then worked the clock down and got the ball to Bradshaw, who posted up and hit the soft turnaround with just under 10 seconds left.

The Chanticleers had one last chance, but Torrell Martin tipped the inbounds pass that was headed for Stevens. The Eagles forced a jump ball and got possession with 2.9 seconds left before running out the clock.

Martin led Winthrop with 10 points. Williams had eight points and eight rebounds. Chris Gaynor scored eight points and had six assists.

The Eagles held Jack Leasure, Coastal Carolina's top scorer at 18 points a game, to five points on 1-for-15 shooting. Stevens led the Chanticleers with 18 points, while Pele Paelay added 12 points.

Coastal Carolina trailed 27-18 at halftime, but Paelay brought them back after the break. He scored the first seven points of the second half to cut Winthrop's lead to 27-25. No team would lead by more than five the rest of the way.

Winthrop outrebounded Coastal Carolina 38-29. The Chanticleers had pulled down more rebounds than the bigger, stronger Eagles in their two regular season wins.

Coastal Carolina saw its 12-game winning streak snapped.

Winthrop is 0-5 in the NCAA tournament. The Eagles were seeded 14th last year and lost to Gonzaga 74-64.

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