If we were talking Winthrop baseball the term could be followed by the names of sluggers Chas Crane and Eddie Rohan who just hit consecutive home runs.
But here we are five games into the Winthrop men's basketball season and the team is so ready to say good riddance to this most-recent portion of the schedule. Playing a pair of back-to-back game sets over an eight-day span was tough on players and coaches alike.
Winthrop played strong and gave a solid effort on the front side of each back-to-back games. The team was weak and worn out afterward.
Monday, Nov. 15: The Eagles played well against Virginia Commonwealth in their first game of the NIT Season Tip-Off in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Rams will be an NCAA tournament team. A 67-54 loss wasn't bad considering the team was without Robbie Dreher and Charles Corbin who were suspended.
Tuesday, Nov. 16: Winthrop's 45-44 loss to Hampton the following night had us all scratching our heads. Oh boy, it was like watching the team play in the NCAA play-in game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff again. The questions start -- Will this team be able to make baskets? Is Gideon Gamble more likely to score 20 a night the way he did against VCU or fail to score like he did in the Hampton game?
Monday, Nov. 22: Winthrop played its best game of the season in an 83-74 win over Wake Forest. Beating an ACC team, even a bad Demon Deacons team, is always sweet.
This was no upset. Winthrop was the better team. The Eagles got out and ran in transition. The team got a boost from Dreher's return; he scored a career-high 20 points. Reggie Middleton flirted with a triple-double with 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
The 83-point outburst was the highest offensive production against a team - other than VMI - since Jan. 17, 2009, in an 87-67 win over UNC Asheville.
Tuesday, Nov. 23: A 71-44 flop against Belmont. Winthrop was flat out of gas. The Bruins had 24 offensive rebounds and 21 second chance points. The Eagles had allowed 34 offensive boards and 30 second chancers in its first four games combined.
George Valentine's rebounding numbers reflect how tough it is to hit the glass hard on consecutive nights. In the three games he's been fresh, he's pulled in nine rebounds a game; without rest he drops to 5.5.
Gamble's shooting paints a similar picture. He's scoring 12.3 points a game and hitting 56 percent of his shots with rest. He had a total of two points on 1-for-10 shooting on the back end of consecutive outings.
Here's the big picture.
The NIT games were good for this team even though they won just one of four. The level of competition showed this team where its strengths and weaknesses lie.
Winthrop's RPI was 117 going into Tuesday's game. Only Gardner-Webb (58) had a better RPI among Big South schools.
Winthrop is still without Corbin, a 6-foot-9 senior, who will provide experience, energy and, most importantly, added depth when he returns. His suspension will last three more games, meaning he'll miss Saturday's home game against Lander and the first two conference tilts -- at VMI and at Liberty.
The best part of this three-game stretch is the normalcy of the schedule. No more back-to-back games. No more 9:30 p.m. tip-offs.
The team is off today for Thanksgiving. They practice on Friday afternoon and will have a light workout Saturday before playing Lander at 7 p.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum.
Winthrop has five days to prepare for its game at VMI on Dec. 2. A short bus trip over the mountain will put the team in Lynchburg, Va., for a practice the following day and a Dec. 4 game at 7 p.m. at the Vines Center.
Normal. Plenty of rest.
Winthrop has played well when rested. They are 2-1 in those games.
There is one more potentially taxing piece of this year's schedule -- Feb. 1 at Radford, Feb. 3 at Gardner-Webb and Feb. 5 at UNC Asheville. Three games in five days, all on the road. Winthrop will be at full strength by then and should weather that early-February challenge much easier than what we saw in the NIT.
Should we expect Winthrop to score 83 points a night? No. Will Winthrop have another 44-point outing? Let's see how things go at Kentucky on Dec. 22.