Winthrop shocks Notre Dame
Spokane, WA (Sports Network) – Craig Bradshaw scored 24 points and pulled down
six rebounds as Winthrop held off a late rally by Notre Dame to upset the
Fighting Irish, 74-64, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Torrell Martin posted 20 points and collected a career-high 11 boards for the
eleventh-seeded Eagles (29-4), who have won 19 straight games and advanced to
the second round of the NCAA tourney for the first time in school history.
Winthrop will face Oregon on Sunday in the Midwest Regional at Spokane
Colin Falls had 14 points, Rob Kurz donated 13 points and 10 rebounds, and
Russell Carter added 12 points for sixth-seeded Notre Dame (24-8), which
erased a 20-point deficit in the second half before faltering in the final
minutes of the contest.
“I don’t think they did anything that we weren’t prepared for,” said Kurz. “We
knew coming into the game that they were a really tough team. And had a lot of
experienced guys. So I don’t think that it was necessarily anything they did
or any adjustments they made, they just played really tough all game long and
they made some key plays and some clutch shots and so I don’t think it was
necessarily anything they did in their game plan (that suprised us).”
Holding a four-point lead at the break, Winthrop stormed out of the gate in
the second half. Martin’s layup at 19:36 started a 22-6 run for the Eagles,
who led 54-34 at 13:15.
Notre Dame erupted with a 13-0 run, however, to pull within 54-47 on Tory
Jackson’s three-point shot with 7:21 to play. Michael Jenkins followed with a
free throw for the Eagles, but Falls nailed a jumper at the other end and the
Fighting Irish trailed by just six, 55-49, with 6:52 remaining.
The spurt continued, as Carter’s layup made it 57-56 at 5:02, but Taj
McCullough followed with a huge dunk — the team’s first field goal in nearly
eight minutes — to put the Eagles back up by three.
A dogfight ensued at that point, as Winthrop opened a four-point lead.
Bradshaw tried to extend it to six but couldn’t get the layup to fall, and
Jackson drained a long three-pointer for Notre Dame to trim the deficit back
to one, 62-61, with 3:13 to play.
Notre Dame finally took the lead, 63-62, on Luke Harangody’s jumper at 2:21,
but the Eagles followed with five straight points and held a 67-63 margin at
The Eagles put the game away with under a minute to play, as Martin went 1-
for-2 from the charity stripe and Bradshaw followed with a dunk before Jenkins
made a pair of free throws to extend the lead to eight.
Phillip Williams capped the scoring with two from the line for the 10 point
“It’s huge,” said Winthrop head coach Gregg Marshall, reacting to the win.
“It’s huge for me personally. It’s huge for these players right here. It’s
huge for our team. Our program. It’s huge for our league. Being the first time
a Big South team has ever won a game. It’s huge for the State of South
Carolina, I don’t know when the last time they won a game in the tournament.
It’s really big and it means a lot.”
Winthrop held a 10-4 lead on Chris Gaynor’s trey at 16:10 in the first half,
but Notre Dame answered with seven consecutive points and took its first lead
on a pair of Zach Hillesland free throws to make it 13-10.
A three-pointer by Falls extended the Fighting Irish lead to 18-12 at 11:34,
and both sides traded buckets after that point before the Eagles closed the
half on a 13-2 run, ignited by Bradshaw’s trey at 3:38 and capped by Jenkins’
shot from beyond the arc with 50 ticks to play as Winthrop carried a 32-28
edge into intermission.
Notre Dame was just 1-for-11 from three-point range in the first half.
The game marked the first-ever meeting between the teams…It marked Notre
Dame’s first appearance in the tourney for the first time since 2003 and the
fourth time in seven seasons…The Fighting Irish were making their 28th
overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament field, where it owns a record of
29-32…This is Winthrop’s seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last
nine years. The No. 11 seed is the highest ever for a Big South Conference
member…Hillesland finished with 10 points for Notre Dame.