JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. --- Ishmael Sanders led four players in double figures with a game-high 22 points as Carson-Newman College led wire-to-wire in a 78-64 victory over Tusculum College in a South Atlantic Conference men's basketball battle Wednesday night at Holt Fieldhouse.
Antoine Davis added 18 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles (14-9, 7-6 SAC), who forced the Pioneers into 16 of their 19 turnovers in the first half on their way to a 12-point lead at intermission. Corbin Jackson finished with 12 points, four rebounds and six blocks and Collin Crane chipped in with 12 points and six boards in the victory for Carson-Newman.
Four players scored in double figures for the Pioneers (8-13, 5-8 SAC), led by Justin Steigerwald who had 14 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. Tommy Klempin added 12 points and eight rebounds, Kevin Vest netted 12 points and dished out four assists and Daniel O'Conner recorded a season-high 10 points and blocked four shots.
Sanders shot 7-for-17 from the field, including two three-pointers, and was 6-for-7 at the foul line as the Eagles snapped a nine-game home losing streak to Tusculum by defeating the Pioneers at Holt Fieldhouse for the first time since January 19, 2002.
Carson-Newman sprinted to a 19-8 lead after six minutes and led by as many as 14 on its way to a 44-32 lead at intermission. Tusculum cut the deficit to six early in the second half, but a 15-4 run helped the Eagles to their largest lead of the game at 75-56 with four minutes to play.
Despite shooting a sizzling 59.1 percent (13-for-22) from the field in the first half, the Pioneers were undone by 16 turnovers which the Eagles turned into 14 points. Sanders scored 13 points in the opening half and Crane added nine for the Eagles, who shot 51.4 percent (18-for-35) from the floor in the half.
Tusculum scored the first six points of the second half to pull within 44-38 on a jumper by Nicholas Spinks with 16:54 remaining, but a jumper by Sanders and a putback by Jackson restored the Eagles' double-digit lead. Steigerwald brought the margin back under 10 as his jumper with 9:36 left cut the Carson-Newman lead to 60-52, but the Eagles scored seven straight points and 13 of the next 16 to build a 73-55 advantage with just over five minutes remaining.
Both teams cooled off in the second half to finish the game shooting 47 percent, as Tusculum was 11-for-29 (37.9 percent) and Carson-Newman was 12-for-29 (41.4 percent) after the break.
Marcellous Perez paced the Eagle offense with a game-high eight assists, and added six points in 28 minutes of action. Spinks finished with seven points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Pioneers and Darius Carter added five points, three boards and three helpers in 22 minutes off the Tusculum bench.
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