ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Reid Augst scored 27 points to lead fourth-seeded UNC Asheville to a 76-68 Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference quarterfinals victory over fifth-seeded Winthrop at Justice Center Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs (15-15) advance to the semifinals for the third straight year and will face top-seeded Radford on Thursday night on the Highlanders home court starting at 8 p.m. live on ESPNU. The Eagles (11-19) steak of four straight Big South Conference championships came to an end on Tuesday. The loss snapped a 12-game Big South Tournament winning streak for Winthrop.
Augst was 9-of-15 from the field, 7-of-10 from thee free throw line and grabbed six rebounds to help UNC Asheville snap a three-game losing streak to Winthrop dating back to last season. Sean Smith added 15 points for the home team, while Matt Dickey added 12 points. John Williams came close to a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
The Eagles were led by freshman Andre Jones with 18 points. Charles Corbin came off the bench and scored 15 points and collected 10 rebounds. Mantoris Robinson finished with 14 points, while Byron Faison chipped in 13 points.
The Bulldogs took control of the game quickly as they scored the first 14 points of the game, holding the Eagles scoreless for the first six minutes. Augst had eight points in the early run that stopped when Jones knocked down a trey.
The Bulldogs shot 55 percent (16-of-29) from the field in the first half and led 45-32 at halftime.
In the second half, Asheville pushed the lead to 17 at 62-45 on a jumper from Dickey with 11:28 left. Winthrop went on a 15-3 run to claw its way back in the game as Jones knocked down a three-pointer to cut the lead to 67-63 at the 5:42 mark.
The Bulldogs got the lead back to eight at 71-63 on four free throws before the Eagles made one more push and closed to 71-66 on a Corbin trey at the 1:53 mark. Winthrop had a chance to get closer but Corbin missed the front end of a one-and-one at the 58-second mark. Asheville got a free throw from J.P. Primm to make it 72-66 before Corbin scored on a rebound bucket to narrow the lead to 72-68 with seven seconds left.
The Bulldogs sealed the victory by making four straight free throws in the final seven seconds to end a two-game Big South Tournament losing streak to Winthrop. The Eagles had beaten Asheville in the semifinals of the 2007 Big South Tournament and championship game of last year’s tournament.