Carson-Newman heads to Newberry for first SAC roadtrip

Carson-Newman heads to Newberry for first SAC roadtrip

C-N Game Notes

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (4-3, 1-0 South Atlantic Conference) leaves the friendly confines of Holt Fieldhouse for the first time this year in conference play to challenge Newberry (5-2, 1-1 SAC) Saturday afternoon at 4 in Eleazer Arena. 

Carson-Newman will try to avoid its first four-game losing streak since falling twice to Lincoln Memorial and once each to Anderson and Newberry at the end of the 2010-11 season. 

The Eagles have won four straight at Eleazer Arena.

"Over the past several meetings with Newberry, I've been pleased with how we've handled the challenge of their style," head coach Chuck Benson said. "I hope we have that same kind of determination and fight to go out and perform in a way that makes us competitive."

C-N has been two different teams in wins and losses. One of the prime differences for Carson-Newman comes from three-point range.  In wins over No. 6 Lincoln Memorial, Lander, Southern Wesleyan and UVA-Wise, the Eagles are averaging 9.8 makes from distance on 48 percent shooting.

Conversely, C-N is hitting a paltry 4.3 threes per game in its losses at a 24.1 percent clip.

One constant for the Eagles this season that Chuck Benson wants to improve is defensive chaos.   Carson-Newman ranks 304th out of 307 teams in turnovers forced with 9.43 per game. The Eagles only forced six giveaways by Johnson C. Smith last time out. The Golden Bulls were averaging 16.5 a game coming into the contest.

At the same time, the Eagles are coming off a season-high 17 turnovers against the Golden Bulls, which led to a season-high 25 points off those turnovers.  That's not a good sign going into a game against Newberry. 

The Wolves still utilize a pressure cooker defense that has forced at least 20 turnovers in all but one game this season (Queens, who still turned it over 19 times against Newberry).  The Eagles turned it over 28 and 23 times in splitting the season series with the Wolves last year. 

"We encourage our guys to take care of the basketball and be ready for what's coming in terms of traps," Benson said. "We know our guys don't intend to turn it over.  But that's a part of the game, especially against Newberry because of their style.  We have to hope that we do keep those turnovers down, then we have to go down there and be able to make some shots."

Newberry, as per usual under head coach Dave Davis, features one of the nation's most prolific offenses. The Wolves average 100.3 points per game, good for fourth in the country. Newberry features prominently in a litany of national rankings.

The Wolves are first in threes attempted (320), threes made per game (15.8), total threes made (126) and total steals (124). They rank second nationally for turnovers forced per game (24.38) and steals per game (15.5). They also ranks third nationally for assists (157) and are in the top 10 for free throws made (6th - 164), free throw attempts (8th - 214), offensive rebounds per game (8th - 15.50), total rebounds (8th, 330) and assists per game (10th - 19.6).

Newberry features five players who average double-digits.  Gerald Evans leads the way with 15.4 points per game.  A whopping 13 players averaged more than 10 minutes a game for the Wolves.

"They have so many guys who can shoot it," Benson said. "They're so tough to guard because they have so many weapons from deep.  You have to be careful because you can't get so far outside your game that you're not playing it anymore.  You can't play them at their game because they are better at their game than you are."

Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky,) continue to lead Carson-Newman.  Clark is third in the SAC with 19.9 points per game. Williams is chipping in 18.7 points and 8.0 rebounds a game.

Tipoff between the Eagles and Wolves is set for 4 p.m. Saturday. Pregame coverage starts at 3:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at 

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