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Bradshaw, Winthrop hold on to shock Notre Dame

Mar 17, 2007 - 12:51 AM SPOKANE, Washington (Ticker) -- There was a great amount of drama, but Craig Bradshaw and Winthrop finally sealed the deal.

Bradshaw scored 24 points as No. 11 seed Winthrop overcame the loss of a huge second-half lead to claim its first victory in the NCAA Tournament, a 74-64 upset of sixth-seeded Notre Dame in the first round of the Midwest Region.

Torrell Martin added 20 points and a career-high 11 rebounds for the Eagles (29-4), who will face third-seeded Oregon in Sunday's second round.

The champion of the Big South Conference, Winthrop had its chances for a win in the NCAAs over the previous two years, failing to hold a late lead against Gonzaga in 2005 and falling to then-No. 2 seed Tennessee on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Chris Lofton last year.

Overall, the Eagles had been 0-6 in previous appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

"It's been a long time coming," Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall said. "It was huge for the college, the Big South and the state (of South Carolina) as a whole. The Eagle has landed."

The Eagles were able to accomplish the upset despite the offensive struggles of leading scorer Michael Jenkins, who finished with six points on 1-of-10 shooting.

"It feels great," said Jenkins, who did hand out 11 assists. "This whole thing started as soon as the Tennessee loss last year."

The Eagles appeared primed to avoid another close finish, building a 54-34 lead with 13:15 remaining on a 35-8 run that bridged the first and second halves. Bradshaw, who scored 12 points during the burst, including the final six points.

Despite the overwhelming deficit, the Fighting Irish (24-8) rallied, closing within 57-56 when Russell Carter's layup with 5:02 left capped a 22-3 burst.

Notre Dame, which had won its previous three first-round games in the NCAAs, took the lead when freshman Luke Harangody's banked turnaround shot made it 63-62 with 2:21 to go.

"We knew they would make a run," Martin said. "Great teams always have a run in them."

However, Harangody missed the ensuing free throw and Winthrop charged back, handling the Irish's full-court pressure to set up shots at the rim.

Bradshaw's layup with 2:09 left returned the lead to the Eagles. Chris Gaynor hit a 3-pointer and Winthrop got a favorable call on some contract near the rim before Martin split two free throws for a 68-64 edge with a minute remaining.

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey thought that sophomore swingman Ryan Ayers was in position to draw a charge on Martin.

"I felt Ayers was in position," he said. "It didn't kill us, but it wasn't a great call."

Along with the questionable block, Brey was asked about his decision to remain in a full-court press even after the Irish had taken the lead. The push in tempo appeared to favor the Eagles, who broke the pressure for a handful of close looks down the stretch, including a dunk by Bradshaw that made it 70-64 with 36 seconds left.

"We wanted to keep the play loose and free," Brey said. "We wanted to give ourselves a chance, so we stuck with it."

Notre Dame, which finished 4-of-22 (18 percent) on 3-pointers, ended up the game missing its finally three shots.

After a tough non-conference schedule where they gave fits to such power conference teams like North Carolina, Maryland, Wisconsin and Texas A&M, the Eagles were somewhat slighted when they were only given a No. 11 seed. They more than proved the NCAA Selection Committee wrong with the big win.

"We should have been a higher seed," Marshall said.

Bradshaw finished 10-of-16 from the field and Martin added 8-of-18 for Winthrop, which ended up shooting 45 percent (28-of-62) and held a 43-41 edge in rebounding.

Colin Falls scored 14 points and Rob Kurz had 13 before fouling out for the Irish, who finished 42 percent (28-of-67) from the floor, failing to score at least 70 points for the first time in eight games.

Carter, Notre Dame's leading scorer, managed just 12 points on 6-of-15 shooting, including 0-of-6 on 3-pointers.

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    WINTHROP 32 42 74
    NOTRE DAME 28 36 64 FINAL

    Mar 16 4:29 PM
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    Winthrop vs. Notre DameMar 16 4:26 PM
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    Winthrop vs. Notre DameMar 16 4:14 PM

    NCAA BB (11) WINTHROP 32

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