WINTHROP — For a defensive-minded coach like Winthrop’s Todd MacArthur, it’s hard to beat efforts like Monday night’s.

The Ramblers held Madison without a field goal in the first quarter and ran away with the game from there, earning a 63-31 victory over the Bulldogs in a Mountain Valley Conference boys basketball matchup in Winthrop.

“It’s all about our rotations and it’s all about the timing of our rotations, if they’re tight and we’re doing them together,” MacArthur said. “We’re putting in the pieces to become the team we want to be by February.”

Cam Hachey had 15 points and Cam Wood had 12 and seven rebounds for the Ramblers (8-1), who improved to 8-1, but this one was about the defense. The Ramblers scored the first 14 points and kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard until an Eric Wescott free throw with 33.9 seconds left in the first quarter, and denied them a field goal until Thomas Dean drove for a layup with 6:45 left in the second quarter.

Winthrop’s defense pressure didn’t let up, as the Ramblers were up 31-8 by halftime, never trailed by fewer than 16 and led by as many as 35 points.

“I thought for the majority of this game, at least three and a half quarters, our rotations were really good,” MacArthur said. “And when they’re good, we’re usually the recipient of transition points and high-efficiency offense.”

Thomas Dean impressed for the Bulldogs (5-4) with 16 points and eight rebounds, but he little support. The Ramblers stymied Madison’s talented senior duo of Jacob Meader and Eric Wescott, holding them to a combined three points.

“We obviously know Winthrop’s a great defensive team,” coach Jason Furbush said. “But we missed … a lot of shots that I think normally fall, that could have kept it a lot closer. We just missed a lot of open shots, and they didn’t fall tonight. That didn’t help the scoreboard much.”

Furbush said he had no complaints with the effort from his team, but singled out the performance from Dean, who had 14 of the team’s first 15 points.

“He’s a freshman, first of all, so in order to be able to compete against kids like Woods and Figueroa, you have to come with that effort,” Furbush said. “And he was up for the challenge. He’s always a kid that’s not going to back down. That’s why it’s going to be fun to coach him for the next four years.”

MacArthur said limiting Meader (two points), a talented finisher and paint player, was a byproduct of having 6-foot-8 Wood, 6-foot-5 Sam Figueroa and 6-foot-4 trio Ryan Baird, Nate LeBlanc and Jevin Smith all patroling inside.

“Well we’re big. That’s one of our biggest advantages, our size,” he said. “Just by showing up in the gym sometimes, we’re going to win the points in the paint battle. Obviously, we’d be idotic to go in there without the thought of trying to bang the ball inside.”

Jevin Smith added nine points and six rebounds and Sam Figueroa had eight points for the Ramblers. Hachey, a junior, knocked down four 3-pointers on his way to his 15 points.

“He’s a great shooter. I have high expectations for him this year,” MacArthur said of Hachey. “He’s gaining confidence. That’s his third game in a row he’s shown the ability to knock down multiple threes in games. … He’s got so much room to grow, and hopefully by the time tournament time rolls around he has all the confidence in the world and he does some special things for us on the perimeter.”

Joshua Linkletter added seven points for Madison.

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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