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Giffa's game-winner caps comeback win for HPU men

Jan. 29—ROCK HILL, S.C. — Kezza Giffa scored on a last-second shot to lift High Point University to an 83-81 comeback win over Winthrop in Big South Conference men's basketball Saturday at Winthrop.

The Panthers, who trailed by 17 points with 16 minutes left in the game, extended their winning streak to 10 games — the best in the program's Division-I history. They also reached 7-0 in the Big South for the first time.

Giffa scored a career-high 37 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field and 13-of-16 shooting from the foul line to lead High Point (18-4), which shot 46% for the game — including 56% in the second half.

Trae Benham, who made four 3-pointers, and Kimani Hamilton each added 13 points while Titas Sargiunas chipped in 10 points as the Panthers trailed 47-35 at halftime and fell behind 17 with 16:49 left in the game.

But High Point answered with a 26-8 run to take a one-point lead with 10 minutes left in the game. The teams went back and forth into the final minutes.

Giffa made a layup that 24 seconds left that gave the Panthers a three-point lead. But the Eagles (14-9, 5-3), who were led by Kelton Talford with 22 points, came right back with a three-point play with 14 seconds left.

That set up Giffa in the final seconds. He drove the left side, pump-fake and sank a tough leaner over his defender as the clock wound down under a second.

High Point will next play Thursday at 7 p.m. at home against Longwood. The game will be televised on ESPNU.