Winthrop spent little time relishing the 53-51 come-from-behind win over Presbyterian on New Year's Eve.
The win moved the Eagles to 6-7 overall and, more importantly, 2-1 in the Big South. Winthrop coach Randy Peele knows there are a lot more conference games to be played to reflect on one win.
Peele was pleased, however, seeing his team erase a 15-point second-half deficit in the Winthrop Coliseum against PC. Andre Jones, despite missing his previous nine 3-point attempts, hit a big one late. He then tied the game with 21.8 seconds left.
Reggie Middleton hit a free throw giving the Eagles their first lead of the contest with 1.2 seconds to go.
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"I have tremendous respect for Presbyterian and what they have gone through," Peele said referring to the NCAA's October 2010 decision to prolong the PC's transition to full Division I status by another year.
"They are not able to compete for a Big South tournament title or the NCAA tournament. But they are still playing hard and competing at a high level," Peele said.
Peele also liked the way senior Justin Burton played against PC point guard Pierre Miller. Peele said Burton's play was significant in the way he was able to stop Miller in transition.
Presbyterian was picked to finish fourth in a preseason poll of the league's head coaches and a media panel. Center Al'Lonzo Coleman was named to the Preseason All-Conference team.
Winthrop was the only school in the league to be idle on Sunday. The open date allowed Middleton to take some time off with his foot injury. Reggie King, the team's third point guard, missed time with a knee injury leaving the team with Burton as the lone lead guard for a couple practices.
With school still out for Christmas break the team has been going hard to prepare for home contests against UNC Asheville on Thursday and Gardner-Webb on Saturday.
Asheville (6-8, 1-3 Big South), the preseason No. 3 pick, lost a pair of Big South home games last week. Gardner-Webb (6-10, 1-3) has lost six in a row and was chosen last in the 10-team conference.
Peele said he doesn't pay any attention to team's records.
"I am committed to improvement. I want to see us get better," Peele said after Tuesday's two-and-a-half hour practice. There is still a lot of basketball left before the conference tournament."
At least one area that needs improvement is the play of Middleton. He has to become more consistent. Middleton, a junior, was 0-for-5 from the floor and tallied just two points in 19 minutes against Presbyterian.
"When he plays at a high level like he did last year against High Point (25 points) and in (last season's) conference tournament against Liberty (26 points), we are a very good team," Peele said.