VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Grant Teichmann Interview
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Carson-Newman was limited to just 17 second half points with a 31-13 Tusculum scoring spurt in the final 18 minutes of gameplay en route to a 63-49 loss to Tusculum on Wednesday night at Pioneer Arena.
The last time Carson-Newman (9-7, 2-7 South Atlantic Conference) saw a double-digit loss to Tusculum (7-8, 3-4 SAC) came on Feb. 13, 2010.
In addition, two Eagle streaks against the Pioneers came to a screeching halt at four straight, those being consecutive wins over the Pioneers and wins in Greeneville.
"More than anything, I'm disappointed for our team," coach Chuck Benson said. "I thought we played a really sound first half on both ends of the court. We came out and sort of had a start there but just couldn't make shots.
"When that starts happening, a lot of times, it starts impacting other things like, now, instead of trusting execution that we always have to do for this team to get its best chance to win, guys start trying to make plays in an attempt to fix the problem. It's just almost a domino effect."
The Eagles recorded season-lows for points, field goal percentage at 34-percent shooting along with free throw makes and attempts at 2-of-4. The 49 points scored are the lowest by C-N since 2016.
Within the first 10 minutes of the contest, Carson-Newman was shooting 62-percent from long distance at five of eight, failing to make any of its shots from within the arc. Grant Teichmann (Brentwood, Tenn.), Nick Rogers (Knoxville, Tenn.), Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) and Blake Ervin (Maryville, Tenn.) all shared the wealth from three-point range during that span.
The first bucket the Eagles made within the paint came 11 minutes into the affair after Brendan Coleman (Johnson City, Tenn.) picked up a steal on Brandon Mitchell. Teichmann dished out a look to Cameron Andre (Kissimmee, Fla.) for a layup to give C-N a 17-15 lead.
Parker Role (Atlanta, Ga.) slammed in a two-hand jam off a feed from Teichmann to head into the break with the Orange and Blue leading, 32-29.
Benson's crew shot 44 percent from the field in the first half of play compared to 40 percent from Tusculum.
Carson-Newman used a 4-0 run at the start of the second stanza to go up by seven, its largest lead of the game.
Tusculum answered by regaining the lead on a 13-3 run that spanned seven and a half minutes before Teichmann connected for a layup to cut the Pioneers' lead to a point at 42-41 with 10 minutes left.
"(In the first half) we did some good moving off the ball and found some holes," Teichmann said. "Then when they went straight man, we just didn't have an answer for it. They got stops, they got in transition and they got offensive rebounds and we came down and either turned it over or missed shots and just couldn't find rhythm."
Reece Anderson (Douglasville, Ga.) drove in for a play off the glass with 2: 31 left to play to put C-N down by 10, 59-49. That was the closest the Eagles could get to the Pioneers for the remainder of the game.
In the second half, C-N shot 24-percent from the field, its lowest percentage in the frame this season. After a 50-percent showing from three-point land at 8-of-16 in the opening half, the Eagles could only make one of their 11 attempts in the second half. Tusculum, on the other hand, was 37-percent from the field.
"I don't think this second half in any way really defines who we are," Benson said. "I've seen enough of this team to know that we are a much more capable team than that."
Abraham was the only Eagle to make it into double-digit scoring territory on the night with 15 points, all of those coming in the form of three-pointers in the first half. His performance made up the majority of the team's 24 points off the bench.
Teichmann was the second-highest scorer for C-N with seven points, seven assists and four boards.
Tusculum had four players in double-figure scoring. Donaldson led the way with a double-double on 17 points and 17 rebounds, 14 of those coming on the defensive side of the ball.
Carson-Newman returns home for the first time in over week to play host to Newberry on Saturday. Tipoff with the Wolves is set for 4 p.m. inside Holt Fieldhouse. Pregame coverage on the Eagles Sports Network starts at 7345 p.m. with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on The Mountain 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.