MARS HILL, N.C. – Carson-Newman (16-4, 8-4 South Atlantic Conference) had a one-point game locked up at Mars Hill (3-16, 1-11 SAC) with under a second left. However, with 0.6 seconds left and possession of the basketball in a one-point game, the Eagles were whistled for a technical foul.
Mars Hill knocked down two free throws and inexplicably came out victorious 78-77 when it seemed as if Carson-Newman had sewn up a seventh straight win over the Lions.
The win snaps a 10-game losing streak for Mars Hill.
The back-and-forth affair saw six ties and 22 lead changes. The Eagles looked poised to collect a win with 3.6 seconds left.
Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) cut to the rack down on the left block and hit a tough, contested leaner to give the Eagles a 77-76 advantage.
Austin Gilyard then ran three-quarters of the floor before stepping out of bounds in front of Mars Hill's bench with 0.6 seconds left.
Carson-Newman attempted to inbound the ball once, however, Gilyard used a swim move to initiate contact with Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) before falling to the ground. Officials separated the players and Carson-Newman got set to attempt another inbounds pass.
Clark had his hands on his knees with Gilyard positioned off as Clark's right hip. With Clark as stationary as a statue, Gilyard behaved as if he had taken a blow below the belt.
The official, who was preparing to hand the basketball to Carson-Newman's inbounder, turned and saw Gilyard reeling backwards and whistled Clark for his first career technical foul.
Gilyard, a 90 percent free throw shooter on the season, promptly hit both free throws for his only points of the game; Mars Hill inbounded the basketball and collected the win, their first since Dec. 5.
The loss is Carson-Newman's first in Mars Hill's Stanford Arena since the 2011-12 season and their first one-point loss since a 77-76 defeat at Catawba last year.
Jones matched his career high with 28 points on 11-for-14 shooting. He was Carson-Newman's lone double-digit scorer. Clark saw a string of 29 consecutive double-digit scoring efforts come to a close. The SAC's leading scorer finished with nine He was 3-for-10 from the field.
Mars Hill's Luke Van-Rijn reset his career high with a 22-point outburst. The Australian knocked down 5-of-9 threes. Nassyr Daniel went for 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Bennett Wilson and Justin Hartfield added 12 and 11, respectively.
The Lions knocked down a season-high 11 threes on 29 attempts.
Carson-Newman shot 55.2 percent from the field, albeit 4-for-15 from long range.
The Eagles continue their road trip Saturday at Coker. Tipoff from the DeLoach Center is set for 4 p.m. Pregame 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.