BOONE, N.C. – Carson-Newman led the Appalachian State Mountaineers for the first 28 minutes of the Eagles exhibition contest at the Holmes Center, but a 9-3 Mountaineer run in the second half helped propel ASU to a 62-59 victory over Carson-Newman.
Carson-Newman had chances to take the lead and tie with a three on two occasions in the final 60 seconds, but Jay Canty intercepted a pass to thwart one final Eagle heave.
"I've got a great deal of respect for my team, we came up here with nine players," Carson-Newman head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson said. "We had one player who decided that he didn't want to give it tonight, so we set him for the second half and that hurt our depth. But despite that, our kids fought like tigers."
Antoine Davis and Ish Sanders returned to form after scoring in the single digits for the exhibition opener against East Tennessee State. Davis poured in a team high 21 points while Sanders contributed 16 on 6-13 shooting.
"You could see sharpened focus from those guys coming into this game," Benson said. "Tonight really I though Appalachian State worked at trying to make stop on those two kids, but they were very relentless in their attempts to work to get open."
Two days removed from a 16-point effort against the Bucs, O'Dell Parker was scoreless in 14 minutes.
The Eagles led at the break 31-26 and by as many as 10 in the first half before Appalachian State started to make its push at the midpoint of the second half. The 9-3 run was enough to push Appalachian State ahead by six with two minutes left.
However, Sanders hit a lay up from the left side of the lane with a minute left to bring the Eagles within one. The fact that C-N was in it late, highlighted the herculean effort of some of the Eagles for Benson.
"We were dead, Antoine plays 38 minutes – he's never played 38 minutes before in his life," Benson said. "Cody played 35 minutes and they had a four man rotation on him the entire game. We needed O'Dell, but he didn't show up today. It was simply a matter of fatigue. Had that not been the issue, I think we win this game."
Carson-Newman scorched the nets in the first half, shooting 50 percent from the field and from three. The Eagles finished the game hitting 45 percent of their shots and 38 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
The Mountaineers outrebounded C-N 42-29 and 13-2 on the offensive glass. That led to a 10-2 ASU advantage in second chance points.
"In all my years of doing this, these two exhibition games, I've never seen emotion like this in the locker room after games. These don't even count wins or losses and our kids are crying their eyes out after the game. I'm thinking that this is good because it means something to them."
Carson-Newman hits the road for its regular season opener next Monday at Lees-McRae. The Eagles and Bobcats tip at 7 p.m., with coverage on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network starting at 6:45 p.m. with the Farm Bureau Countdown to Tipoff. Eagle fans can hear the game on 106.3 ESPN Radio The Zone (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com.