The Eagles used a 20-7 run midway through the final quarter to rally from a point down into 12-point lead. Smith scored 15 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, and Jerome added 19 points and six assists. Jerome fed Keon Johnson for a 3 as Winthrop took the lead 48-46, then hit a 3, a layup and a free throw as Winthrop surged ahead 54-48.
USC-Upstate cut the Winthrop lead down to three with 2:18 remaining on a Torrey Craig 3-point jumper but was unable to get any closer.
Craig tied a career-high with 31 points. Ty Greene added 21 points seven assists and Ricardo Glenn 14 points for the Spartans.
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