Winthrop junior point guard Reggie Middleton's availability for today's 7 p.m. home game against Lander is said to be a game-time decision.
Middleton is averaging 11.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and four assists through the team's first five games. He came out of Tuesday's lopsided loss against Belmont at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., after sustaining a right lower leg injury.
The team's leading scorer a year ago did not practice Wednesday. The team was off Thursday. Middleton did not take part in practice on Friday afternoon.
Look for Middleton to sit out tonight's game.
Winthrop returns to the Coliseum tonight for a tune up game against Division II Lander before opening the Big South Conference slate late next week at VMI. The Eagles begin a two-game Big South swing to VMI on Thursday night and Liberty on Saturday, Dec. 4.
Conference games trump non-conference tilts. There is no reason to press Middleton into action for this game, especially since senior Justin Burton has started the first five games alongside Middleton. The duo has been sharing point guard duties but Burton should be the featured lead guard against Lander with sophomore Reggie King coming off the bench when needed.
Robbie Dreher might get his first start of the 2010-11 season. The 6-foot-4 sophomore served a suspension that covered the team's exhibition game as well as the season's first three contests. He sprang into action late in the first half in the Eagles' 83-74 win over Wake Forest to score a career-high 20 points.
Winthrop, 2-3, has been a Jekyll and Hyde team through the first five games. When the Eagles are rested they are 2-1 and score 69 points a game. But in the second of back-to-back contests the team is 0-2 and has scored just 44 points.
The most recent 44-point outing was a 27-point whipping against Atlantic Sun Conference power Belmont in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Tuesday in the consolation round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Belmont grabbed 24 offensive rebounds in the game, 15 in the first 20 minutes.
It has been two weeks since Winthrop played at home when they opened the season with a 70-61 win over Division II Queens.
Lander, 3-1, plays in the competitive Division II Peach Belt Conference. The Bearcats are led by second-year coach Jeff Burkhamer who got his start in coaching as a Winthrop College assistant in 1984-1985 under then-head coach Nield Gordon.
Lander has not played a Division I school since Dec. 15, 2004, when they won at Charleston Southern, 67-59.
The Bearcats began the season 3-0 but lost on Tuesday to UNC Pembroke, a team Winthrop defeated 68-52 in an exhibition at the Coliseum on Nov. 6. Lander junior wing Calvin Liptrot has led the team in scoring in three of four games thus far. The junior college transfer is averaging 19.5 points per game.