JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - For the second time this season, Carson-Newman guard Charles "Bird" Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) has been selected as the US Basketball Writers Association national player of the week.
Clark becomes the only men's basketball player in the country to earn the honor twice this season after an historic, bonkers week.
Clark tallied up the highest scoring triple-double in the history of basketball (NCAA or NBA) on Saturday while resetting both the Carson-Newman and South Atlantic Conference single-game scoring records against Coker.
Clark poured in 54 points to bypass Ish Sanders (51 points versus Mars Hill in 2011) for the Carson-Newman record and RJ McLure (52 points versus Anderson in 2014) for the South Atlantic Conference mark. He also turned in 11 points and 12 assists for his third triple-double in as many home games.
Clark is the seventh player in NCAA history and the first at the Division II level with back-to-back triple-doubles.
The junior guard was 16-for-27 from the field and 7-for-14 from three-point range. He canned 15 of his 16 free throw attempts on the day.
Clark's 54-points may be the most points that have ever been scored in a triple-double in the history of basketball. All other games that the Carson-Newman Sports Information Department are aware of happened in the NBA. James Harden has produced a pair of 50-point triple-doubles this season for the Houston Rockets this year, topping out at 53 points on New Year's Eve against the Knicks.
"I don't know how he does it," head coach Chuck Benson said. "This whole thing started a couple weeks ago when I asked him to get a triple-double. The thing about this night is that we honor our seniors. He told me he'd be ready today. Obviously, his definition of ready is to go out and do the unbelievable. This is his evolution into greatness."
Russell Westbrook scored 51 on Oct. 28 against the Suns in a win for Oklahoma City. Elgin Baylor (1961/1963), Richie Guerin (1962), Wilt Chamberlain (1963/1968) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also cracked 50 in the NBA.
Oscar Robertson had 39 points for Cincinnati as a part of a triple-double in a 98-85 win over Louisville in the 1959 NCAA tournament.
Clark also breaks Chris Jones' 56-year-old Carson-Newman record for points in a half. Clark had 36 in the second, besting Jones' 33 from a 1961 game against Emory & Henry.
His performance against Coker overshadowed a stellar game against Brevard. Clark produced a 33-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist triple-double in 32 minutes against the Tornados.
Clark only averaged 43.5 points, 11-rebounds and 11.5 assists for the week. The junior has scored 20 points in five straight games now.
The Eagles open up the South Atlantic Conference tournament play Wednesday against Newberry. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. Pregame coverage begins on the Eagle Sports Network at 7:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.