Winthrop coach Randy Peele has been talking about this season as being one of those where nothing is going to come easily for Eagles.
If the start is any indication, it certainly isn't going to come as easily as it has the past two seasons.
Until routing Limestone 78-34 Wednesday, Peele's team had been in close games for most of the season. Through 12 games, the Eagles had played nine games decided by 10 or fewer points; eight decided by eight for fewer; six decided by six or fewer; and four decided by five or fewer.
The 14-point win over Illinois-Chicago and the 15-point win at East Carolina were the only two that remotely resembled a easy night. The Eagles also beat Akron by 10, but had to come from 10 down in the final five minutes to do it.
Winthrop won five of the nine close games by 10 or fewer points, four by eight or fewer and three by six or fewer.
Last year, the Eagles, who finished 29-5, played eight games all season decided by fewer than 10 points. Through 12 games last year, the Eagles had already won nine by double digits.
In the 2005-06 season, when the Eagles finished 23-8, they played just 11 games decided by 10 or fewer points.
That's why Wednesday's breeze past the NCAA Division II Saints was at least a welcomed change of pace.
"It was nice to be able to sit down in the second half and try to take a look at some things," Peele said. "From that standpoint, it was a good game."
He'd like to have more but understands he probably won't.
• TAJ TALES: Winthrop senior Taj McCullough played 16 minutes and scored just seven points against Limestone. It snapped a string of five straight double-digit scoring games and was just the second game of the year when he's failed to scored at least 10.
McCullough played with eight stitches in his chin, the result of whacking his face on the floor diving for a loose ball in practice Jan. 1.
• WILL BE NO. 1: VMI's Reggie Williams had 29 points in the Keydets' win at Mercer Wednesday, pushing his career total to 2,191. He needs 21 points to pass Liberty's Larry Blair (2,211) atop the league's all-time scoring list.
The record is likely to come Tuesday, when the Keydets take on Southern Virginia in what should be another scoring fest for coach Duggar Baucom's team.
At his current pace of 25.1 points per game, Williams is likely to put up a mark that's going to stand for a while. Barring injury, he'll play at least 16 more games, which would give him at least 401 points.
He's likely to pass the 2,500-point mark with ease.
When Williams moves to No. 1, it will mean Blair held the record for less than a year. Before Blair, Coastal Carolina's Tony Dunkin (2,151) held the record since 1993,when he passed Radford's Doug Day (2,027).
Those are the only players in league history to reach the 2,000-point plateau.
• COULD HIT 2,000: High Point's Arizona Reid is the only other current player with a shot at reaching the 2,000-point club.
Reid, a 6-foot-5 senior, scored 22 points in the Panthers' 88-70 loss at Florida Wednesday to run his career total to 1,613 points. He's averaging 24 per game and could play at least 17 more games. If he maintains that average, he would finish with 2,045 points.
If Reid continues his average of 10.5 rebounds, he'd finish his career with 974 and could be the first player in Big South history to reach 2,000 points and 900 rebounds in a career.
• ROAD KILL: Coastal Carolina's 89-64 loss at East Carolina Wednesday was the Chants' 27th consecutive loss in non-conference road games.
Coastal hasn't beaten a non-Big South team on the road since winning at Marist 74-70 on Nov. 22, 2003.
The good news? The ECU game was Coastal's final non-conference road game of the season.
• UNHAPPY MAN: Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon wasn't exactly pleased with the officiating in his team's 101-90 overtime loss at UNC Asheville last week.
Buffalo was whistled for 33 fouls to just 11 for the Bulldogs. UNCA was 32-of-49 from the foul line while Buffalo was 6-of-9.
After the game, Witherspoon went after the officiating crew of Dave Davis, Geoff Brooks and Brad Corriher.
"I went after the officials and told them what I thought of them," Witherspoon told the Asheville Citizen-Times.
He went after them so hard he had to be restrained by Mike Gore, UNC Asheville's associate athletics director for media relations.
Of course, Witherspoon might have had a bigger beef with his team. Buffalo was up by 14 with just over seven minutes left in regulation but was outscored 44-19 from there through overtime.
• 3-POINTERS: Coastal freshman Anthony Breeze suffered a sprained ankle during Christmas break practice, didn't start at ECU and played just 14 minutes. He missed all six of his shots and scored just three points. ... UNCAsheville is 10-3 and off to its best start in 23 years. The Bulldogs didn't reach 10 wins last year until February. ... The Big South has two wins over ranked teams in its history and Winthrop has both -- last week's win over Miami and last year's NCAA tournament victory over Notre Dame.