JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – For the first time, in the 2012-13 season, Carson-Newman (11-4, 4-3 SAC) dropped a game at Holt Fieldhouse. The Eagles fell to rival Lincoln Memorial (13-2, 6-1 SAC) – the 12th-ranked team in the nation 80-63 Wednesday night.
The loss give the Eagles back-to-back defeats for the first time this season, while snapping a two-game win streak over the Railsplitters.
"One hundred percent credit goes to LMU," Carson-Newman head men's hoops coach Chuck Benson said. "This is the hardest, the most focused, the most inspired I've seen LMU play since I've been here under coach (Josh) Schertz. That's not to say they don't play aggressively or inspired. They just brought it tonight. Their toughness exposed us on every level."
Carson-Newman scored the first four points of the contest, but LMU went on a 19-2 run over the next six minutes until the 12-minute mark in the first half to open up a double-digit lead the Railsplitters would not relinquish.
Jake Troyli went 9-of-10 from the field in the first half. He scored 21 points in the opening frame alone, including a triple to cap off the 19-2 run that gave LMU the 19-6 lead in the opening eight minutes.
"We've got to have a tougher physical and mental approach with some of our guys," Benson said. "Troyli's a big time player. When Cody Henegar (who was hampered by foul trouble) goes out, we're defending him with straight freshmen on the inside."
Carson-Newman would trail by as many as 21 in the first half before trimming the halftime deficit to 16, 46-30.
The Eagles used a 13-3 second half run to get within nine off an Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) layup with 10:20 to play, but Troyli and Cam Carden would hit a jumper and a three, respectively, on the next two possessions to extend the lead back out to 14.
Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) paced the Eagles with 21 on 7-of-19 shooting. Davis added 15, going 6-of-16 from the field. The Eagles shot a season worst 35.4 percent from the field. In fact, Carson-Newman had just three halves of basketball coming into the game where it shot 45 percent or worse from the floor (the first halves against Lees-McRae, Lenoir-Rhyne and Tusculum). Lincoln Memorial held C-N below 40 percent for both halves.
The Railsplitters became the first team to shoot better than 50 percent from the field against the Eagles, hitting 31-of-58 shots for a 53.4 percent clip.
Carson-Newman stays at home for a Saturday game against Catawba at 4 p.m. The men's basketball program will honor the coaches who got the Eagles to 1,000 wins in program history prior to the game. Coverage on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network begins at 3:45 p.m. with the Farm Bureau Countdown to Tipoff.