- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) - Xavier Cooks scored 19 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and Winthrop came back from a halftime deficit to beat UNC-Asheville 76-73 on Thursday night.

Winthrop (14-4, 6-1 Big South) trailed by five at halftime but fought back to open a seven-point lead, 60-53, midway through the second half. The Bulldogs answered, storming ahead 70-65 via a 17-5 stretch capped by five straight points by Ahmad Thomas.

Keon Johnson and Roderick Perkins combined to make three free throws for Winthrop to tie the score at 70 with 3:14 left, then Johnson added two more to give the Eagles the lead for good.

Perkins finished with 17 points for Winthrop, which has won five straight to maintain a first place tie with Liberty atop the conference standings.

Thomas matched a career-high with 27 points for the Bulldogs (13-7, 5-2), who fell one game behind the Big South leaders.

It was the fourth time Thomas reached the 27-point mark in his career.

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