JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After a 5-1 start away from the friendly confines of Holt Fieldhouse, Carson-Newman (13-9, 10-6 South Atlantic Conference) has dropped three consecutive games away from home.
The Eagles try to stop that streak with an 8 p.m. tipoff from the Abney Athletic Center Wednesday against the Anderson Trojans (10-12, 8-8 SAC).
While C-N looks to stop its road losing streak, it will attempt to continue a string of successes in the Palmetto State. The Eagles have won 10 consecutive games played in the state of South Carolina. The Eagles last loss in the Palmetto State came Feb. 18, 2015 with a 73-63 loss at the Abney Center to Anderson.
The Eagles competition on its road losing streak has been top flight. C-N lost to No. 13 LMU, No. 5 Queens and Catawba in succession after starting out the season 5-1 away from Holt Fieldhouse. Carson-Newman had a chance to tie or take the lead on the final possession against both Catawba and Queens.
"We have to go out with confidence and perform," head coach Chuck Benson said. "We've played murderers row, but against two of the three, we played well enough to have a chance to win the game at the end. We just didn't finish. Hopefully we've learned from that."
It would be nigh miraculous if the Eagles were able to replicate what they did in the second half of a 100-77 win over Anderson earlier this season, the Trojans most lopsided loss of the year. C-N shot 80 percent from the field, 20-for-25, en route to a 100-77 win.
"That really doesn't explain a whole lot," Benson said. "When I look at the tape, the game was very close and we had had a hard time scoring in the half court. We made our runs in transition and defense. We'll have to score against a set defense this time and hopefully get out in transition."
In that game, C-N shot a season high 69.6 percent from the field, going 39-for-56 from the floor. The Eagles were also an efficient 9-for-16 from three. At the same time, the Eagles limited Anderson to 40.6 percent shooting for the game.
The Eagles' 69.6 percent effort is the best single-game field goal percentage for the program this century. Meanwhile, no Carson-Newman team has made 80 percent of its shots in a half. The overall field goal percentage is the fifth best in Division II this season. The NCAA record for field goal percentage in a half is 95.0 percent. Abilene Christian went 19-for-20 from the floor on Jan. 21, 1989 against Cameron.
Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Jones paced C-N with double-doubles. Clark had a season high 27 points and a career high 13 boards.
After suffering through a five-game losing streak, Anderson has won three of its last four. Impressively, the Trojans have done it without Randall Shaw - the South Atlantic Conference's leading scorer. Shaw averages 21.6 points per game, nearly two points better than Carson-Newman's Charles Clark, the league's second-leading scorer. Shaw went off for 26 in the first meeting.
Anderson is a much better scoring team at home than it is on the road. The Trojans averages 11 more points per game at the Abney center than they do on the road.
A win over Anderson would give Carson-Newman a fourth straight win in the series. That would match Anderson's win streak from 2010-2012 as the longest in the series' brief 15-game history.
"Defensive rebounding was an issue this last game," Benson said. "But more than anything, I want us to improve our ability to finish. We're right there. We need to make that last play offensively or make that last stop defensively that allow us to walk out of a place with a win. Those losses can be good, but you have to learn from them and get a takeaway from them. We just need to finish and complete the process."
Tipoff from the Abney Center is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday. Coverage of the game will be available on the Eagle Sports Network starting with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff at 7:45 on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.