VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (4-7, 2-3 South Atlantic Conference) hopes to wash the foul taste of a 28-point loss to Johnson C. Smith before the Christmas break out of its mouth as it welcomes Wingate (7-4, 4-1 SAC) for a 4 p.m. tipoff Saturday in Holt Fieldhouse.
The Eagles loss to the Golden Bulls marked the program's largest defeat in three years; however, with a 17-day layoff, head coach Chuck Benson said the Eagles have had plenty of time to hit the reset button.
"We had a good chance for our players and coaches the get away and spend time with family," Benson said. "That was good, then we addressed lessons learned from Johnson C. Smith. That was a 30-minute conversation and since, I've like our attitude across the board among our veterans and newcomers."
Carson-Newman is 3-1 under head coach Chuck Benson in return games from Christmas break. The Eagles beat Wingate last year 80-72 to kick off 2014. The lone loss came in the first game of 2013, a nonconference loss 70-66 at Queens.
The Eagles can match their longest win streak over the Wingate Bulldogs with a win to start the New Year. The Eagles have won two in a row against Wingate. Carson-Newman won six of eight games (a pair of three game win streaks included) from 2001-04.
However, that segued to a string of 14 straight Wingate wins.
Once again Wingate has one of the best defenses in the South Atlantic Conference, the Bulldogs are number two in the league allowing 65.5 points per game. However, after starting 4-0 in league play, the Bulldogs have hit a three-game skid, most recently losing to GRU Augusta on the road 83-70 on New Year's Eve.
The Bulldogs are led by Ryan Daye and his 13.8 points per game.
"He's been a part of a lot of winning," Benson said. "He's versatile. He has an NBA-range three and he can drive and get to the rim. He's someone we'll have to identify no matter where he goes on the court."
Tipoff Saturday between the Eagles and Bulldogs is set for 4 p.m. Coverage on the Eagle Sports Network begins at 3:45 with the Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.