Carson-Newman circles the wagons on Tusculum to sweep season series with strong defensive effort

Carson-Newman circles the wagons on Tusculum to sweep season series with strong defensive effort

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – For the first time since the 2001-02 season, Carson Newman (15-4, 8-3 South Atlantic Conference) has swept a season series with Tusculum (5-11, 3-8).  Carson-Newman held Tusculum to one field goal over an eight minute span in the first half while going on a 13-2 run and never looked back in a 73-43 win Wednesday night at Holt Fieldhouse. 

The win was the most lopsided in the series since the Eagles last swept TC more than a decade ago.  Carson-Newman knocked the Pioneers out of the SAC semifinals with an 88-51 win. 

Carson-Newman has locked down defensively in February.  Following Wingate's 52-point performance last Saturday against C-N, the Pioneers' 43 points are the fewest scored on the Eagles this season. 

"We knew they were more inside oriented than outside," Carson-Newman head coach Chuck Benson said. "We wanted to take away that.  Some of that was our guys taking it away, some of that was just not being their night.  But the numbers we gave up, those are impressive."

The Eagles defense set new season lows for points (43), field goals (14), field goal attempts (45), field goal percentage (31 percent), three pointers (two), three point field goal attempts (12), three point field goal percentage (16.7 percent) and assists (six) allowed.

Carson-Newman produced three double figure scorers, with Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) scoring 18, Jared Johnson 14 (Springfield, Mass.) and Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) adding 11. 

The Eagles limited Keith Jumper, who had a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double in the first meeting, to two points and a rebound Wednesday night.

"Our guys knew Keith Jumper was a major threat.  Our guys did a good job getting bodies in front of him to stop his drives.  Our guys did a good job following our scouting reports on him tonight."

With the game tied 4-4 with 16 minutes left in the first half, the Eagles limited Tusculum to a single field goal over the next eight minutes while Carson-Newman opened up a 12-point
lead off a Sanders three that it would not relinquish.  A Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.) whirling dervish dunk with 2:53 left in the first half would give C-N its first 20-point lead of the night. 

Carson-Newman forced 21 Tusculum turnovers and converted them to 31 points. 

The Eagles are back at home Saturday against Lenoir-Rhyne in what will be a battle to stay in the top four in the SAC standings.   Tip time is 4 p.m.  Pregame coverage begins at 3:45 p.m. on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network. 


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