December 14, 2013

C-N falters on the road at L-R

Chuck Benson postgame interview

HICKORY, N.C. – Lenoir-Rhyne (5-2, 4-1 South Atlantic Conference) catapulted out to a 20-point second half lead thanks to a 13-4 run en route to a 68-56 win over Carson-Newman (6-2, 3-2 SAC) Saturday evening at Shuford Memorial Gymnasium. 

The Eagles were held to a season low 56 points and 24 made field goals in the first game where both of Carson-Newman's All-SAC performers Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) and Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) were held to single digits in their combined careers at C-N. Sanders had nine and Davis eight. It snaps a 28-game streak for Davis scoring double digits and a nine-game streak for Sanders. 

"I thought they were very physical with Antoine going to the rim," Carson-Newman head coach Chuck Benson said. "That rattled his cage and made his night much more difficult.  I thought he had good looks, but he just didn't finish."

On the flip side, Lenoir-Rhyne canned seven-of-11 first half threes and 11-of-21 for the game to help themselves to the win. The Bears entered the game shooting 32 percent from deep before the 53 percent outburst from trey ball lands against the Eagles. 

Conversely, C-N was just four-for-16 from three, it's second worst three-point shooting output of the year. 

"Defensively, we allowed them to make too high of a percentage of their shots and especially their threes," Benson said. "Then, offensively, we were nonexistent.  We turn the ball over 12 times and you give up 20 points off that, you're going to lose."

RJ McClure led the Bears with 22 points while Jarvis Perry contributed 16, 12 of which came from beyond the arc on four-of-four shooting from beyond the arc. 

Josh Rogers (Bristol, UK) and Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.) led the way for C-N with 10 and 11, respectively. 

The loss is Carson-Newman's first in December since a Dec. 1 defeat at Lenoir-Rhyne a year ago.  The Eagles are 1-2 on the road in 2013.

"It's always hard to win on the road, especially in conference," Benson said. "But I've been dissppointed in the way that we've played in all three of our road games.  But the reality is, I wouldn't change a thing about our preparation either."

Carson-Newman had trimmed Lenoir-Rhyne's 10-point first half lead to three with a 7-0 run spanning the halftime break 90 seconds into the second half when Carson Brooks was called for a charge and then whistled for a technical on the same possession.  Benson said that changed the complexion of the game as L-R rolled out that 13-4 run to push the lead to 16.  C-N would get no closer than the final margin the rest of the way. 

The Eagles return home to close out the schedule before Christmas Dec. 18 against Limestone. Tipoff with the Saints is set for 7 p.m.  Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 6:45 with the Countdown to Tipoff on 106.3 ESPN Radio the Zone (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.