WILSON, N.C. – Barton (1-0) turned a 10-point halftime deficit into a two-point win, 74-72 over Carson-Newman (0-1) Friday night at Wilson Gym at the Bulldogs' 45-Second Classic.
The Eagles shot a turgid 74 percent from the field in the second half, but turned the ball over 22 times, including four times in the final four minutes of regulation. The Eagles 22 giveaways are their most since giving the rock up 22 times in a loss at Lenoir-Rhyne on Dec. 1, 2012. b
"22 turnovers will do you in every time," Benson said. "That and poor defense the second half can be attributed to inexperience. That's as tough a place to play in the region as any."
The loss comes in spite of junior forward Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.) obliterating his previous career high. Brooks poured in 26 points on a flawless 12-of-12 shooting. It's the first time this century that an Eagle has made all of their field goal attempts when shooting more than seven. Carson-Newman has had several players make six-of-six or five-of-five field goals over the last 14 years.
"Carson was just unguardable," Benson said. "He had some monster dunks, but he was making tough, tough shots. He had a good six months leading up to this season. We knew he was coming into his own. I'm not surprised he put up 26, but to go 12-for-12 is otherworldly."
Jay Lane (Manassas, Va.) also notched a new career high with a 10-point effort on 3-of-6 shooting, including 2-for-4 from deep.
Carson-Newman led 59-52 with 9:37 left in regulation on the heels of a Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.). However, the Bulldogs rattled off seven straight points to tie the game at 59 on a Jordan Sharpe three. The squads would trade buckets back and forth until Danny Shand gave the Bulldogs a three-point edge with 1:40 left on a triple from the left wing.
Even though C-N trailed 74-70 with less than 30 seconds left, the Eagles still had a chance to win. Brooks collected his 26th point on a turnaround J from the foul line with 26 seconds left. Then Carson-Newman forced a turnover with 22 seconds left. However, as Ryan Jones (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Lane were working the ball around the perimeter the duo mishandled an exchange for Carson-Newman's 22nd turnover of the day.
The Bulldogs shot free throws with a chance to re-ice the game, however, Shand missed the front end of a one-and-one. Brooks snared his sixth rebound of the day with five seconds left.
Benson burned a timeout with 0.6 seconds left, however, Josh Rogers (Bristol, United Kingdom) backdoor lob to Brooks to tie was too tall for the 6-6 post to handle and the Bulldogs were able to drain the clock of its final ticks to pick up the win.
The Eagles lose their opening game of the season for the first time since 2011 when they dropped a 79-75 decision to King. Benson is now 2-3 in season-opening contests.
The Bulldogs scored 18 points off turnovers and had 23 second chance points to the Eagles' 10. The Bulldogs outrebounded C-N 37-34 and had 17 rebounds on the offensive glass.
Carson-Newman hit 55.8 percent of its shots while Barton canned 41.3 percent.
The Eagles wrap up play in the 45-Second Classic Saturday at two against Mount Olive, who defeated No. 20 USC-Aiken in its opener 90-76. The game, slated for a 2 p.m. tip, can be head on the Eagle Sports Network online at cneagles.com/live.