VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
HICKORY, N.C. – Carson-Newman (6-5, 3-2 South Atlantic Conference) went eight minutes without hitting a field goal in the second half, while Lenoir-Rhyne (5-5, 4-2 SAC) rattled off an 18-0 run, leading to a 72-66 Bears' win Saturday afternoon at Shuford Memorial Gymnasium.
Carson-Newman had its lowest scoring and worst shooting performance of the season in the defeat. C-N shot 36.5 percent from the floor for the game and 9-for-31 (29 percent) for the second half. The Eagles missed 15 consecutive shots at one point while the Bears turned a six-point deficit into a double-digit lead with 11 minutes to play.
"A blind man can see this one," Carson-Newman head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson said. "When guys don't make shots. You have a problem. It's real simple. When you have guys who are shotmakers, and they don't make shots, it's really difficult to win."
Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) and Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) combined to go 1-for-13 from the field in the second half. Both players are among the field goal percentage leaders in the South Atlantic Conference. Williams is the nation's active career leader in offensive field goal percentage.
The Eagles led 43-37 with 18:33 to play following a Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) trey. That's when the Bears' onslaught began. Darrion Evans knocked down back-to-back threes before Jalen Variste knifed to the rim for a layup with 16:57 to play that gave the Bears the lead for good.
A Jarvis Calhoun three with 13:04 to play put the Bears up 12, matching their largest lead of the day.
Carson-Newman was led by Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and his 22 points. Clark has scored on the plus side of 20 in four consecutive games. Williams did windup with a doible-double with 15 points and 12 boards.
Jones just missed out on his school-record tying sixth double-double of the season. He had nine points and 11 boards.
L-R's JacQues Chambers' star shone brightest for the Bears. He had 18 points and an otherworldly 20 rebounds. Jarvis Calhoun had 19 points, knocking down 5-of-9 shots from deep. Reed Lucas and Evans added 12 and 11, respectively.
Lenoir-Rhyne relied on the three-point shot, knocking down 16-of-37 to get the win.
The Eagles break for two weeks for Christmas before returning to action at Mars Hill's Stanford Arena New Year's Eve. Tipoff between the Eagles and Lions is set for 4. Pregame coverage on the ESN starts at 3:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.