JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (5-0, 1-0 SAC) men's basketball is 5-0 for the first time since 1998. C-N used numerous runs to keep Brevard (0-5, 0-1 SAC) at bay in an 81-62 victory Wednesday night at Holt Fieldhouse. The Eagles closed the game on a 14-0 run capped by an Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) coast-to-coast layup.
Sanders grabbed the game high in scoring, putting down 24 points, going 9-17 from the field and 6-11 from beyond the arc. Sanders' six made threes are the most made by a C-N player this season. Sanders had eight points in the first half, 16 in the second.
The junior from Cleveland rounded out his stat sheet with seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and a goose egg in the turnover column. In 169 minutes on the court in 2012, Sanders has turned it over three times.
"We've made points of emphasis to him to take care of the basketball and he's responded to that," Carson-Newman head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson said. "Right now he's playing the best basketball that he's played in his career."
Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) went for 20 points, his fourth game this season surpassing the 20-point barrier. Davis also ripped down seven rebounds. O'Dell Parker (Knoxville, Tenn.) rounded out Carson-Newman's double-digit scorers with 14 points.
The Eagles limited the conference's third leading scorer Dominique Pickett to 15 points – three below his average. Carson-Newman confounded Pickett into 6-23 shooting from the field. Pickett made just one of his 11 three-point attempts.
"When you get him to take that many shots and they're highly contested shots, that's not good offense for them," Benson said. "I know (Brevard head coach Lee Burgees) was in a rock and a hard place needing the kid to produce, but he took some shots tonight with our guys right on him and those just don't have a very good chance to go in."
Carson-Newman took a 17-point first half lead following a Parker dive down the right baseline that ended in a thunderous right-handed tomahawk slam that brought a crowd of 1,348 inside Holt Fieldhouse to its feet.
However, Brevard countered with a 13-0 run spanning the half to bring the Eagle lead down to four following a Manzey Miller triple with 18:52 left in the game. Miller paced Brevard with 20 points.
The Eagles would respond with six straight points at the midpoint of the second half to extend the lead back to double figures with a two-handed Cody Henegar (South Pittsburg, Tenn.) lay-up with 8:10 left in the game. Brevard would draw closer than 10 just once more before the Eagles 14-0 run to close.
Carson-Newman never trailed.
"I'm hoping our guys are learning that you have to endure those runs and be relentless when you are on them," Benson said. "The big difference was they went on a cold streak, which led to defensive rebound, which led to transition opportunities for us."
The Eagles forced 16 Tornado turnovers, turning them into 19 points. Carson-Newman blistered the nets, shooting 54 percent on 31-for-57 shooting from the field. Carson-Newman has had seven halves of basketball out of 10 where it has shot better than 50 percent.
C-N also scorched the nets from beyond the arc, hitting 11 of the 24 three pointers it took.
Meanwhile, the Eagles held Brevard to 6-of-27 shooting from beyond the arc – 22 percent. Nearly half of the shots the Tornados took were threes.
Carson-Newman will have an opportunity to grab a 6-0 start to the season Saturday at Lenoir-Rhyne. C-N last started 6-0 in 1988. The program's longest winning streak to start a season is eight games, set three times in 1961, 1962 and 1967. The Bears swept the season series with C-N in 2012-13. Pregame coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.