Winthrop makes Big South title game in win over Gardner-Webb

BUIES CREEK, N.C. (AP) Xavier Cooks hit four 3-pointers and scored 23 points and No. 2 seed Winthrop beat sixth-seeded Gardner-Webb 82-69 on Saturday to advance to the Big South Conference tournament championship game.

Winthrop (23-8) plays UNC Asheville on Sunday.

Jimmy Gavin also finished with 23 points and Keon Johnson had 14 for the Eagles, who reached the championship game for the third consecutive year.

Tyrell Nelson scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Harold McBride added 16 points for the Bulldogs (17-16).

The score was tied at 29 at the half, but Winthrop took control in the second, building a double-digit lead on a Gavin layup with 12:04 left. A McBride 3-point play cut the deficit to 71-67 with 3:30 remaining. But Cooks hit a 3 on the next possession, and Gavin added a layup in the final minute to push the Eagles' lead back to 10.

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