Eagles fall to no. 19 Railsplitters 69-64

Eagles fall to no. 19 Railsplitters 69-64

HARROGATE, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Eagles (18-5, 11-4 South Atlantic Conference) men's basketball team saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end with a 69-64 loss to the no. 19 Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters (19-5, 12-3 South Atlantic Conference) at Tex Turner Arena on Wednesday night.

The loss ends the longest SAC and Southeast Region winning-streak, and is the first setback for the Eagles since falling to LMU 80-63 on Jan. 23 at Holt Fieldhouse.

"When it was 'winning time' we did not get the ball in the hands of our players that helped us during that 11-0 run," said Carson-Newman head coach Chuck Benson. "That's on me, and we will get that corrected, starting tomorrow."

Junior Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) led the Eagles in scoring with 26 points, and he was joined in double-figures by junior Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) with his 12 points as the Railsplitters swept the season series.

The first half was mainly back-and-forth, with neither team taking a lead larger than six points. LMU finished the first 20 minutes on a 4-0 run over the last 3:45 to lead at halftime 30-26.

LMU maintained its lead into the second half before the Eagles battled back near the midway point of the period. After trailing 44-39 with 14:11 to go, the Eagles went on a 9-2 run that was capped by a Sanders three-pointer that gave Carson-Newman a 48-46 lead with 10:38 remaining.

The next few minutes were back-and-forth before the next Railsplitter run. After Carson-Newman led 52-50 with 9:19 to play, the Railsplitters went on an 11-0 run over the next four minutes to lead 61-52 with 5:05 to play.

Davis helped the Eagles get back into the contest with a three-pointer and a steal and layup to cut LMU's lead to 63-59 with 1:54 to play. Freshman Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.) slammed home two dunks in the final two minutes, with his slam at the 12-second mark cutting LMU's lead to 67-64.

The Railsplitters quickly ran down the court where Jake Troyli delivered a slam dunk of his own to put LMU ahead 69-64, and the Eagles wouldn't get a shot off in the final seconds to fall by five points.

C-N was outrebounded by LMU 33-22, with three Railsplitters (Troyli, Vincent Bailey, and Lorenza Ross) leading LMU by scoring 12 points each. LMU shot 65.2 percent from the field in the second half.

The Eagles will next play on Saturday Feb. 23 at home against Anderson at Holt Fieldhouse at 4 p.m.  Fans can listen to the contest on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network beginning at 3:45 p.m. with the Farm Bureau Countdown to Tipoff on 106.3 ESPN Radio The Zone (WPFT-FM, Sevierville).

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