Five Eagles finished in double figures with Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) leading the charge with 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals with a goose egg in the turnover column in 40 minutes on the floor.
"Ish and I have a good relationship and we talk about a lot of things," Carson-Newman men's basketball coach Chuck Benson said. "He told me he had his mind right. When he says that, you can take it to the bank. The points are nothing unusual from Ish, the other stats, five assists, seven rebounds, no turnovers - that stuff is fantastic."
Sanders' 25 points matched O'Dell Parker's (Knoxville, Tenn.) 25-point outing on the Eagles opening night for the team's high water mark on the young season.
The Eagles led by as many as 19 in the first half. The largest lead of the first frame followed a Marcellous Perez (Jacksonville, N.C.) triple with 9:15 left in the half. Perez was one of the five to finish in double digits. The senior guard had 11 points. Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) was C-N's second leading scorer with 14 while Corbin Jackson (Rockledge, Fla.) and Parker each had 11.
Jackson came two rebounds away from picking up C-N's second double-double in as many games.
The Eagles torched the net, shooting 54.5 percent from field on 30-55 shooting for the game. Carson-Newman was 10-25, 40 percent, from trey-ball land.
"The more this group plays together, the more they'll have confidence in one another," Benson said. "We had good exhibitions, but this is different from the exhibitions. The kids finally realized that we have enough talent across the board to put up 80 plus points."
Columbus State made a push late in the first half with an 8-0 run to cut C-N's lead to nine as the team's headed into the locker rooms. However, the Eagles burst back on to the scene in the second half with a 9-1 run to distance the lead back to double figures.
"We played the second half to win it by itself, the first half meant nothing to us and our kids responded to that."
The Eagles outscored the Cougars in the second frame 46-31.
The Cougars picked up 16 points and 11 rebounds – the first double-double the Eagles had allowed in either the regular season or exhibition play – to Rory Miller who finished 7-19 from the field. Wood Ivey and Lees-McRae transfer BJ Battle each added 10 points.
The Cougars had averaged 85.5 points per game in their first two contests, but the Eagles held them 25 points below that average. A lengthy match-up Eagle zone pressured CSU into shooting 33.8 percent from the field and 17.4 percent from beyond the arc on 4-23 shooting. All those tallies were season lows for the Cougars.
"We told our kids two things coming into this game," Benson said. "We were prepared and that we were going to come out here for 40 minutes and play with that confidence and we did that."
The Eagles return to the court Saturday at 2 p.m. against Knoxville College. The Bulldogs gave the Pioneers fits in a 91-79 loss to Tusculum in the second game of the Pioneer Classic doubleheader. Pregame starts 15 minutes prior to tip with the Farm Bureau Countdown to Tipoff on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network on 106.3 ESPN Radio The Zone (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com.