Eagles topple Wingate behind hot shooting, solid defense

Eagles topple Wingate behind hot shooting, solid defense

WINGATE, N.C. –  Carson-Newman (14-4, 7-3 South Atlantic Conference) closed Saturday's game at Cuddy Arena against Wingate (12-6, 8-2 SAC) on an 11-2 run to snap seven-game losing streak to the Bulldogs with a 63-52 road victory. 

The win is the first for Carson-Newman coach Chuck Benson against Wingate; he's now beaten every team in the league at least once. 

"We've played good here before, for whatever reason, they've just had our number." Benson said. "Coach Good is a great coach and he has such good players around him. Today, our kids, more so than any point this year, spent 40 minutes focused on executing out game plan to a tee.  It worked"

The Eagles limited Wingate to 52 points, 18 below the Bulldogs average. The 52 points allowed are the second lowest total an Eagle opponent has put up to Hiwassee's 51. 

Carson-Newman held the post trio of Odell Turner, Deion Turman and Jeff Parker to a combined 11 points.  Those three players average 27 points a game.  Turner finished with 10.

"We were so ecstatic with our guys (holding Turman, Turner and Parker to two points at the half)," Benson said. "Those guys are veterans and they're outstanding. We felt like if we could take away their inside, their perimeter would have to pick up the scoring."

The Eagles had the hot hand against Wingate, making 22-of-42 shots at a 51.2 percent clip. Wingate leads the league in scoring and three-point defense.  In fact, coming into the game, the Bulldogs were second in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense at 25.8 percent.

The Eagles sank 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) from three-point land. 

Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) led the charge for Carson-Newman with 18, including 2-for-2 shooting from deep.  Cody Henegar (South Pittsburg, Tenn.) was the only Eagle in double figures with 14. 

After Wingate had trimmed an eight-point C-N lead to two, 52-50, with a Xavier Griffin layup with 1:50 to play, Henegar buried a three from the left corner to spark the 11-2 run that would seal the win for Carson-Newman.

With Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) hampered by an ankle injury – the junior only scored three points matching a season low – the Eagles played a slow down style to attempt to match Wingate defensively.

"Ish was truly a game time decision, I looked at him the half of the girl's game and told him he wasn't playing, but he convinced me otherwise," Benson said. "We had to slow it down for him and because this was a battle between two of the top three defensive teams in the league."

Benson said he was impressed with Carson-Newman's quartet of post players.

"Our combination of Brooks, Henegar, Kelley and Rogers outplayed their veteran bigs," Benson said. "You've heard me before and I heap praise on people when we get outplayed.  But tonight, I have to give a pat on the back to those four guys for what they did today, especially with all of them being new to the program and three of them being freshman."

With the win and a Lincoln Memorial road loss to Catawba, the Eagles move within a game of first place in the SAC.  LMU, Wingate and Anderson remain tied atop the league standings at 8-2.  The Eagles are tied for fourth place with Lenoir-Rhyne.

Carson-Newman returns home from its two-game road swing for a rivalry game with Tusculum.  The Eagles and Pioneers tip at 8 p.m. Wednesday.  Pregame coverage begins at 7:45 p.m. 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.


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