PHOTOS: Cougs heat up in NCAA tourney win

TONY BENNETT CRANKED up the volume at halftime. The Cougars responded by draping Winthrop in a crimson blanket of defense and going on a scorching second half run on offense, turning a tie game at the half into a blowout 31-point win over Winthrop in the first round of the Big Dance. The camera lens was courtside to capture it all.

Kyle Weaver was a driving force in the 71-40 win, with 12 first half points.

Aron Baynes was perfect from the field on 9-of-9 shooting.

Tony Bennett looks on stoically. "I thought the difference in the second half was a few things. I thought we got great production from Aaron and Robbie. We really challenged Taylor to guard Jenkins well, their leading scorer. Derrick Low got on track. But our defense, we're going to try not to give 'em the easy baskets. They're going to have to earn everything. No second chance points, no easy breakdowns on cross screens, no stuff all the ball screens. When we did that, they got a little cold, our offense caught fire. Like I said, when we get production from our big kids inside, do the right things, we can be effective," said Bennett.

Taylor Rochestie's defense was key in the decisive second half. He also racked up 10 assists -- including two alley-oop beauties to Cowgill.

Derrick Low drives to the hoop

Kyle Weaver was 5-7 from the field on the game, scoring 14 points.

Derrick Low was held scoreless in the first half but went 4-6 after the break, including three treys, to finish with 11 points.

Kyle Weaver had seven boards on the night.

Nikola Koprivica looks to disrupt Winthrop on the defensive end.

Aron Baynes gives Derrick Low five as Robbie Cowgill, who scored 14 points against Winthrop, looks on.

A typical night at the office for the Cougs' do-everything-man Kyle Weaver: 14 pts, 7 rebs., 1 steal, 1 assist, 1 block, 4-of-6 from the line.

Kyle Weaver and crew held Winthrop to 17 percent shooting in the second half, and 31 percent for the game.

Aron Baynes, Robbie Cowgill, Derrick Low celebrate. Said Cowgill: "You know, coach got on us a little bit (at halftime) but rightfully so. We didn't really play well at all in the first half. You know, offensively I thought we were all right. But defensively, it's just kind of a lackluster effort really. Giving up easy baskets. Kind of what we called all week, we called their gimmick plays, back screens, cross screens, then giving them second chance points. We talk about (how) those are losing plays... He definitely challenged us as halftime and I thought the guys responded well."

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