Dreher scores 20, Winthrop stuns Wake Forest 83-74
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP)—Robbie Dreher scored 20 points and Winthrop held off a late Wake Forest rally to beat the Demon Deacons 83-74 on Monday night in the consolation round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Reggie Middleton added 19 points and nine rebounds, Andre Jones had 15 points and Matt Morgan 10 for the Eagles (2-2), who beat Wake Forest for the first time in seven tries.
Gary Clark scored a game-high 23 points for the Deacons (2-3), who trailed by as many as 18 points midway through the second half.
But Wake Forest fought back, twice cutting Winthrop’s lead to five points, the last at 77-72 on two Travis McKie free throws with 1:18 remaining.
However, Morgan muscled in a layup 24 seconds later and the Eagles hit 4 of 7 from the free-throw line over the final 40 seconds.
Ari Stewart added 17 points for the Demon Deacons, with McKie and Carson Desrosiers scoring 10 each.
Wake Forest took advantage of Winthrop’s slow start—the Eagles missed four of their first seven shots—to take a six-point lead in the opening minutes of the first half, going up 12-6 on a Stewart 3-pointer with 16:40 left.
But Winthrop fought back, tying the score twice and swapping the lead three times before pulling ahead for good, 25-24, on Jones’ layup with 6:44 remaining.
The Eagles then broke loose on a 14-4 run to push their lead into double digits, with Dreher’s jumper with 1:59 left putting Winthrop up 39-28.
Wake Forest also suffered a scare when center Ty Walker was taken to the locker room with an apparent knee injury late in the first half.
The 7-foot junior came down hard on his left leg after missing a dunk with a little over two minutes remaining, collapsing on the court along the baseline.
Walker—Wake Forest’s leading shot blocker with 15 in four games—was helped off the court a few minutes later. However, he returned for the halftime warmups, and started the second half for the Deacons.
Ahead 41-33 at the halftime break, Winthrop extended its lead back into double digits with a 13-5 run to open the second half, going up 54-38 on George Valentine’s layup with 16:36 left.
Wake Forest managed to pull within nine points, with Clark’s 3-pointer capping a 7-0 run that cut the Eagles’ lead to 54-45 with 15:23 remaining. But Winthrop responded with its own 11-2 run, going ahead 65-47—its biggest lead of the game—on Gideon Gamble’s layup with 13:30 remaining.
The Demon Deacons made their last push over the final five minutes, scoring 11 unanswered points—capped by a Clark’s 3-pointer—to cut the Eagles’ lead to 75-70 with 2:23 left. But Dreher scored off a fast-break dunk with 1:31 left to push Winthrop’s lead back to seven points.