VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The three most prolific scorers in the South Atlantic Conference will be on display Wednesday night in Holt Fieldhouse when Carson-Newman's (10-6, 7-3 SAC) men's basketball team tips off at 8 against Anderson (7-9, 5-5 SAC).
The game has been declared a whiteout. The first 200 fans in the doors for the women's game at 6 p.m. will receive a free white t-shirt.
Anderson's Randall Shaw, two weeks removed from a 45-point outburst (eighth best in league history) and a SAC player of the week plaudit, leads the SAC with 21.0 points per game. Meanwhile Carson-Newman's two All-America candidates Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) follow with 20.4 and 19.1 points per game respectively.
"I'm glad that two of those three are on my team," head coach Chuck Benson said. "All three have proven that they are all very effective scorers. Any one of those guys can explode at any moment and put together a big offensive night."
Williams has been especially sublime of late. The senior has scored 20 or more points in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.
"It doesn't surprise me that Sawyer's numbers are where they are," Benson said. "I say that because he's improved his overall production every year here. I thought Charles' numbers could be down a bit because we have more guys to take shots and he's an unselfish players. That hasn't happened. He's still delivering and he's as efficient as he's ever been."
Shaw features prominently in the national and SAC rankings as well. Shaw is 33rd in the nation in points per game. He ranks third in the league with 3.2 made threes per game and fifth in the conference with a 42.1 shooting percentage from deep.
"He's playing very confidently," Benson said. "He's scary because he's playing so well at such a young age. We'll have to disrupt his rhythm and timing. Hopefully we've got a sound enough approach to put a dent in what he does. You're not going to shut him out, that's impossible. But hopefully we can slow him down a little bit."
Shaw has scored double-digits in all but two games this season for Anderson. He had eight in a season-opening loss to Clayton State and seven in a 72-71 loss at home to Catawba in one of two games this season that he didn't start. Shaw has 10, 20-point efforts this season. In comparison to Clark and Williams, who have eight and six, respectively. Clark will take aim at a double-digit scoring effort for a 50th consecutive game.
Carson-Newman tries to do something it's never done against Anderson in the 14-game history of the series - win three straight against the Trojans. C-N has taken five of the last seven meetings in the series, but Anderson has halted any long win streak that the Eagles' have attempted to put together.
Anderson hasn't beaten C-N at Holt Fieldhouse since the 2011-12 season. C-N is 4-1 since returning from Christmas break. It's gotten there with better defensive numbers. The Eagles are allowing 41 percent shooting and 77 points per game, both numbers below the Eagles' season averages.
The Trojans have lost three consecutive games this for the first time this year and are looking to avoid seeing their losing streak extended to a season-worst four games. After winning three out of four games where AU shot nearly 55 percent from the field, the Trojans have been limited to 43 percent shooting these last three games.
Tipoff between the Eagles and Trojans is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday night. Coverage of the game starts at 7:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.