MADISON — For a game in which his team held a double-digit lead for the better part of three quarters, Winthrop boys basketball coach Todd MacArthur rarely felt like Wednesday’s game at Madison was in hand.

“Even though it was a double-digit lead, it was a typical Madison-Winthrop game, where any team can strike and the momentum can change at any time, because both programs play pretty good D,” MacArthur said.

Winthrop took a 61-46 win, moving to 8-2 in Mountain Valley Conference play. Madison, playing without a pair of injured key players in Justyn Stinson and Zach Belanger, dropped to 4-6.

“We’re not as deep as we’d like to be, but that’s part of any basketball season,” Madison coach Jason Furbush said. “I’m proud of the way the boys played tonight. We’re in a little slump right now, but we’ve just got to go back to work tomorrow night.”

The Ramblers began to pull away in the second quarter. After the first quarter ended with the teams tied at 12-12, Winthrop outscored the Bulldogs 14-6 in the second quarter to take a 26-18 halftime lead. Winthrop held its largest lead of the half, 11 points, before Cavan Weggler’s 3-pointer at the buzzer pulled the Bulldogs within eight points.

Winthrop led 40-28 at the end of three quarters, and led by as many as 16 points in the fourth. The Ramblers had a distinct size advantage — led by 6-foot-8 Cam Wood — and gradually wore Madison down. Wood finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Jared McLaughlin added 16 points for the Ramblers, while Nate Leblanc chipped in 10.

“Our physicality needs to improve, but it’s pretty good right now, and our size wears people down. For the most part, it’s hard to guard those big guys for four quarters,” McLaughlin said.

Madison’s offense sputtered for stretches, as the Bulldogs struggled to convert layups.

“We’re just not finishing around the rim right now. If we finish around the rim that’s a totally different ball game,” Furbush said.

Sean Whalen led Madison with 17 points, nine coming in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs tried to mount a comeback. Winthrop went 15 for 17 at the line in the fourth.

It was a sloppy game, with the teams combining for 34 turnovers — Madison had 16; Winthrop 18. Turnovers have plagued the Ramblers, MacArthur said, but with a month to go before the tournament there’s time to fix the issues.

“That’s been a problem since Day 1, but you can’t fix something overnight. These kids, they’re working in practice. They know where they’ve got to improve, and we’re plugging away,” MacArthur said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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