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Winthrop downs Hampton to claim Big South Championship and NCAA Automatic Bid

The Eagles though they’d have to go through Radford, but ended up hosting a championship game to get to the NCAA Tournament

Winthrop Eagles head coach Pat Kelsey talks to guard Hunter Hale during the first half against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to at team-high 16 points from DJ Burns on 8/14 shooting off the bench, the No. 2 Winthrop Eagles are in the NCAA Tournament after a 76-68 win over the No. 5 Hampton Pirates on Sunday in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Neither team was particularly efficient, with the Eagles shooting 5-24 from three-point range on the day, and the Pirates 5-26. The difference was on the glass and at the line, as Winthrop won the battle of the boards 44-37, and attempted 34 free throws to 24 for the visitors.

Hampton also might have an argument about the officiating today, as check out what happened on this inadvertent whistle with the game still in doubt.

Despite entering as the second-seed in the Big South tournament, the Eagles were the favorites to win it all with -125 odds. They’ll go back to the Big Dance for the first time since 2017, and look for their second win in program history on the biggest stage; the Eagles knocked of Notre Dame as a No. 11 seed in 2007.

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