Winthrop Upsets Notre Dame

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Finally, on its seventh try, Winthrop did it. Against Notre Dame, of all teams.

Craig Bradshaw, a random import from New Zealand, scored 24 points and Torrell Martin added 20 and a career-high 11 rebounds as previously hollow Winthrop beat hallowed Irish 74-64 Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Winthrop, which had been 0-6 in previous tournament appearances, blew all of its 20-point lead in the second half before surging in the final two minutes to end Notre Dame's first NCAA appearance since 2003.

The 11th-seeded Eagles (29-4), the little school from Rock Hill, S.C., lost in the final seconds to Tennessee last year in the tournament. They came from that defeat -- and a frenetic Irish rally in this game -- to advance in the Midwest Regional.

Last June, Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall accepted the College of Charleston's offer to become its head coach -- for almost twice his Winthrop salary of about $500,000. But 24 hours later, he said "No, thanks," and stayed on course with his below-the-radar Eagles.

Good move. Charleston is home. Never even made it into the tournament after a 22-11 season. And Marshall is one win from the NCAA regional semifinals.

The sixth-seeded Irish, led by 14 points from Colin Falls, finished 24-8.

Down 54-34, Notre Dame stormed back to take a 63-62 lead with 2:21 left. From then on, it was all Winthrop.

Winthrop scored the first seven points of the second half and built its huge lead with 13 minutes. The trapping, scrapping Irish came all the way back, scoring the next 13 points to get to within 54-47.

Winthrop made just three free throws over eight minutes, and the Irish closed to within 57-56 on a putback by Russell Carter off an airballed 3.

Carter, an All-Big East player and Notre Dame's leading scorer, finished with 12 points on just 6-for-15 shooting.

Notre Dame took the lead on Luke Harangody's turnaround. He was fouled on the play, but missed the ensuing free throw.

Then it was Winthrop's turn. The Eagles scored eight of the next 10 points. Bradshaw's shot inside and Chris Gaynor's second 3-pointer in three tries put the Eagles up 67-63 with 1:30 to go.

After Irish freshman point guard Tory Jackson made one of two free throws, Michael Jenkins pushed the ball to Bradshaw on a break for a sprinting dunk that gave the Eagles a 70-64 lead with 35 seconds left. That essentially ended Notre Dame's roaring comeback and the its season.

Bradshaw, who said he sent a game tape as a New Zealand high schooler to Winthrop just because, was taller than any Irish player. So he continually took any space he wanted underneath -- even though he is often a 3-point shooter. He made 10-of-16 shots, many from within eight feet of the basket, and scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half.

After ending the first half on a 13-2 run that put them up 32-28 at halftime, the Eagles kept surging after the break. They scored the first 10 points of the second half, five by Martin. After his 3-pointer that put Winthrop up 39-28 and forced a time out by Notre Dame with 18:27 left, Martin tapped both temples and flew his hands in the air.

Two minutes later, Gaynor, a 5-foot-10 guard, blocked a putback try by Notre Dame's 6-9 rebounding leader Rob Kurz. Jenkins finished the break the other way with a deft bounce pass behind his back that found Martin in stride for a dazzling layup. The arena erupted with ooohhs and cheers, and Winthrop had erupted for a 46-30 lead with 16 minutes remaining.


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