JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - Three days after seeing its seven-game win streak snapped in a road game at LMU, Carson-Newman (18-5, 11-4 South Atlantic Conference) returns home to battle in another showdown with major implications on the SAC standings.
Anderson (16-7, 12-3 SAC) is a game in front of the Eagles and tied with Wingate and LMU for first place atop the SAC standings.
"We've done some soul searching after that loss (to LMU)," Carson-Newman head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson said. "It was sort of an eye opener for some of our guys. I'm hoping that we'll see a new refocused group Saturday."
Anderson beat C-N 85-80 at home back on Jan. 19. The Trojans shot an otherworldly 63 percent from three while sinking a season best 15 triples on the Eagles. The Eagles have lost four in a row to the Trojans. C-N last won 75-71 on the road during the Trojans 2011 Elite Eight run.
The matchup features three of the best three-point shooters not only in the South Atlantic Conference, but also the nation. Chandler Hash bangs in 3.43 triples a game – sixth highest in the nation. Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) is fourth with his 3.61 bombs a game while Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) brings up the rear with 2.96 a contest – 24th nationally.
Hash enters the game with a white hot left hand. The junior sank nine of his 11 threes in Anderson's 76-73 road win over Wingate. Hash buried seven of nine in the previous meeting between the two schools for a game high 25 points.
"It's one of those deals where we play a certain way," Benson said. "It's hard to make those coverages against a team like that. But Hash is such an outstanding player, he with Ish and Toine make up some of the best shooters in this conference."
Sanders is on the cusp of several milestones coming into the game. Should he sink three threes, he would be tied with Clive Owen (2001-02) for most triples in a season with 86. Sanders is already the all-time leader for the category with 240 for his career. He topped Ray Evans mark (1988-1992) of 192 earlier this season.
The junior is also 19 points away from equaling Dustin Edwards (1999-2003) and Leon Williams (1983-1986) 1,311 points and moving into ninth on the all-time career scoring list.
Sanders has been otherworldly of late, he's put in at least 25 points in each of his last three contests. He has four, 25-point games this season.
"He's just so good all the time, both him and Antoine are so consistent," Benson said. "Ish knows that if we're going to win, he has to be a primary scorer for us. In this little stretch, he's just been superb putting the ball in the basket."
The Eagles try to even the score with Anderson with a 4 p.m. tipoff Saturday. Coverage on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network begins at 3:45 p.m. with the Farm Bureau Countdown to Tipoff on ESPN Radio 106.3 The Zone (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com.