VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
The Eagles tip with Newberry (12-5, 7-4 SAC) Saturday at 4 p.m. from Holt Fieldhouse.
C-N is tied for second in the latest SAC standings with Lincoln Memorial. Newberry is tied for fourth with Wingate and Lenoir-Rhyne.
Carson-Newman is trying to sweep the season series with Newberry for a fourth time in the last five years. The Eagles have won nine of the last 10 with the Wolves. C-N's last loss to Newberry came in Dec. 2015 with an 86-84 loss in Holt Fieldhouse to the Wolves.
"When we played them in the first semester, I thought they had the edge," head coach Chuck Benson said. "We were on the road, they were used to playing that style, but our kids responded well enough to win. I feel we're better prepared now because from a personnel standpoint, we have more depth; our youth is growing up."
The last time the teams played, a 116-94 win for the Eagles in Eleazer Arena, C-N scored a whopping 84 points in the paint. That constitutes a school record.
That game, Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) went off. Jones made all 12 field goal attempts he took without missing to match Carson Brooks (C-N) and Rob Lewis (Queens) for a South Atlantic Conference record for most field goals attempted in a game without missing.
The triumvirate of Jones, Sawer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) and Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) combined to finish 36-for-44 from the field in the Eagles' 116-94 win. They accounted for 83 of the Eagles points that day.
Offensive efficiency is no surprise for Williams against the Wolves. The senior forward has made 63-of-72 shot attempts in his career against Newberry, that's good for 76.8 percent shooting. Williams is averaging 21.4 points per game lifetime against Newberry – a total surpassed by Clark's 22.8 point per game average against the Wolves.
Newberry certainly has the horses to outscore teams, however. Dave Davis' high octane attack for the Wolves continues to factor prominently in the national rankings. The Wolves are number one in the country in threes attempted (667), threes made (261) and threes made per game (15.4).
The Wolves rank second in steals per game (14.0) and turnovers forced (23.00). Newberry has the country's third best scoring offense (98.4), while its turnover margin is fourth in the nation (+6.4).
"We acknowledge that we'll have turnovers anytime we play Newberry," Benson said. "That's a credit to Newberry, their style and the culture Dave Davis has established. What we have to do is prevent it from impacting the next play. We have to have the poise to play in that moment and control what we can control."
On an individual level, guard Gerald Evans is one of the country's top thiefs. He is third in the country for steals with 50 and fifth in steals per game with 2.94. Evans did not have a steal the last time the teams played. His only game this season where he didn't have at least one steal. Evans has eight games this year where he has four or more pilfers.
"He's the engine for their car," Benson said. "He's an emotional, passionate player, and a tough competitor. If this would be the final time we face him, you know he's going to bring it. He's really quite the leader for them from the outside looking in."
Tipoff between the Eagles and Wolves is set for 4 p.m. Saturday. Coverage on the Eagle Sports Network begins at 3:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.