The last time he was in Asheville, Matt Morgan left unable to see much at all.
But the Winthrop senior forward said Tuesday afternoon he expected to play without any limitations today, after taking a finger to the eye Saturday.
Morgan had an abrasion to his left eye after getting poked during the Eagles' loss to UNC Asheville. Athletic trainer Jeff Lahr took him to see Rock Hill optometrist Dr. Scott Oliver, who cut away some dead skin, leaving a hole the size of an olive pit on the surface of Morgan's left eye.
The good news was it healed fast, and Morgan said he'd be fine for today's Big South Conference tournament quarterfinals game against Campbell. He skipped Tuesday's morning practice while he saw a local optometrist (who took off a protective lens Oliver had placed on Morgan's eye previously), but was shooting well in a pair of new protective goggles.
"They said I was about 85 percent healed," Morgan said Tuesday afternoon. "I wasn't sure when I left here the other day, but when we saw the doctor back home the day after, he said I was already 70 percent healed, so I knew I'd be able to go."
Having Morgan healthy is a huge boost, since he was Winthrop's most consistent offensive player in recent weeks. He had averaged 13.9 points per game over his previous seven games, after sitting at 6.8 points per game over the first 22.
Getting used to the goggles is another matter. Morgan said they were "bearable," but he stood watching the morning practice in a pair of dark sunglasses instead, since his eyes were still dilated. When he shot during the afternoon workout, it didn't seem to affect his accuracy.
Of course, his quick recovery now means he's fair game for jokes.
Backup forward Larry Brown was calling him "Urkel," after practice, but Morgan laughed and said he had an eye toward a marketing deal.
"They were calling me Ray Charles the other day," Morgan cracked. "I told them to call me Ray Ban instead."
Lucky charm: After their 90-minute workout Tuesday morning in UNC Asheville's Kimmel Arena, the Eagles went back to their roots for a little extra work in the afternoon.
They conducted another hour-long walkthrough at Christ School, where they practiced before their last postseason appearance in Asheville.
That was the 2008 tournament, in which they beat UNC Asheville 66-48 in the old Justice Center.
"Worked last time," Winthrop coach Randy Peele said.
Of course, the other attraction was teammates checking out photos of reserve guard Reggie King, who played at the private school with Duke's Plumlee brothers, Miles and Mason.
Short stuff: Peele was looking a little ragged by the time the afternoon practice was over. Might have had something to do with the fact he was up watching Campbell film until 4 a.m. the night before. Peele's a compulsive tape-watcher anyway, but this time of year makes him that much more intense. ... Campbell has won both meetings between the schools in the Big South tournament (1989 and 1994), and the Camels have won nine of the previous 11 meetings overall.
Advance Auto Parts Big South Men's Basketball Championship
No. 8 High Point 68, No. 9 Gardner-Webb 58
No. 7 VMI 55, No. 10 Radford 53
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 29
No. 7 VMI vs. No. 2 Coastal Carolina, Noon*
No. 6 Winthrop vs. No. 3 Campbell, 2 p.m.*
No. 8 High Point vs. No. 1 UNC Asheville, 6 p.m.*
No. 5 Liberty vs. No. 4 Charleston Southern, 8 p.m.*
THURSDAY, MARCH 1
3-6 winner vs. 2-7-10 winner, 6 p.m.*
4-5 winner vs. 1-8-9 winner, 8 p.m.*
SATURDAY, MARCH 3
Semifinal winners, Noon#
*denotes game will be played at UNC Asheville
#denotes game will be played at highest seed