VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Josh Rogers Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Mars Hill (4-2, 1-2 South Atlantic Conference) received a career high 31-point effort from guard Patrick Monroe to stiff-arm Carson-Newman (1-4, 1-2 SAC) 84-73 Wednesday evening at Holt Fieldhouse.
The night saw Carson-Newman's best offensive performance of the season go by the wayside. The Eagles scored a season-high 73 points with the help of a season-low 13 turnovers.
However, Monroe turned in the first 30-point effort by an Eagle opponent since Lincoln Memorial's Jake Troyli scored 32 in an LMU victory in 2013. Monroe connected on 9-of-17 three point attempts and 10 of his 21 field goal attempts.
"This was one of those games that I was fearful of going into because Mars Hill can shoot with reckless abandon, there's no hesitation," head coach Chuck Benson said. "Most times that will play against you. But tonight it played in their favor. I thought our intensity at the point of the ball was not what it needed to be. A lot of that goes back to a lack of experience of what it takes to bring it at the college level, until we get that resolved, all we can do at this point is to teach and push guys to know what they need to do to be effective."
Carson-Newman led for much of the first half and only trailed 38-37 at the break.
The second half was much the same with a bevy of back-and-forth action. However, following a Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) jumper with 9:54 to play, Mars Hill rattled off a 15-4 run to take a double digit lead on a Monroe triple. The Eagles would get no closer than six the rest of the way.
The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for the Eagles over Mars Hill and ends a seven-game stretch where C-N had scored at least 90 on the Lions in every game.
The Eagles were led by Jared Johnson's (Springfield, Mass.) 17 points. However, the senior guard also coughed up six turnovers, including five in the first half.
"He's pressing a bit," Benson said. "We've got two issues. We've got new players who are freshmen, then we've got veterans like Jared who is playing with a completely different load on his shoulders. He's just forcing the action at this juncture trying to carry the weight and he knows he can't do that."
Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.) chipped in 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting while Josh Rogers (Bristol, United Kingdom) came within one of his career high with a 14-point effort. Freshman Ryan Jones (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) reset his career high with three steals and seven boards to lead the team for both categories.
In addition to Monroe's 31, the Lions received 14 points from Brandon McCarter and 10 from Thomas Anderson. The Eagles limited the only player in the SAC averaging a double-double – Isaiah Cuthbertson – to six points and eight rebounds.
Mars Hill outrebounded the Eagles 36-22. This was the first game this season C-N won the turnover battle. The Eagles created steals on 13 of Mars Hill's 18 turnovers.
"That is a step in the right direction with the turnovers," Benson said. "What's disheartening for our guys sake is that we cut the turnovers down we can potentially win a game. Yes they took care of the ball, but it seemed to take away their ability to do something else. We have to continue to learn to multitask almost."
C-N returns home Saturday for a showdown after Thanksgiving with USC Aiken. The Pacers made the Final Four last season. Tipoff from Holt Fieldhouse is slated for 4 p.m. with pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network rolling at 3:45 p.m. with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.