VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Sawyer Williams Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (6-8, 4-4 South Atlantic Conference) struggled out of the gates, but still had a shot at the buzzer to beat Queens (9-5, 6-2 SAC) Saturday night at Holt Fieldhouse.
However, Jared Johnson's (Springfield, Mass.) 30-foot heave from the right wing was off the mark and Queens held on for an 82-80 win.
"Give credit to Queens, it's due," head coach Chuck Benson said. "They defended us well and balanced their scoring. We hurt ourselves with our turnovers. We had made strides and progress with cutting those down, but their defensive pressure and their random trapping package shook us up."
Carson-Newman started slow, as Queens pounced out of the gates with a 9-0 run. The Royals were able to utilize a stretch of five turnovers in five possessions for the Eagles to aid the run.
C-N's sloppy ball-handling resulted in 12 first half turnovers. The turnover bug bit the Eagles again during a four-minute stretch from the eight-minute mark to the four-minute mark where the Eagles didn't even attempt a shot. That stretch was highlighted by a four turnover outburst in five possessions.
However, the Eagles were able to regroup in the locker room. Carson-Newman used 12-3 and 11-3 runs to get back into the game and even take the lead for brief moments. The teams were tied five times and swapped the lead on three occasions over a three-minute span late in the second half.
"I thought we came out the second half and did a much better job," Benson said. "For us it was a tale of two halves – terrible first half and a better second half. But against a talented team like Queens, 20 minutes is never going to be enough."
Queens looked to have things well in hand with 19 seconds left with a seven-point lead following two Rob Lewis free throws.
Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) hit an off-balance three from the right corner and after a 1-for-2 trip to the line by Marquis Rankin, Johnson drove the length of the floor for a trey from the left wing to cut the deficit to one with five seconds left.
A quick Jay Lane (Manassas, Va.) foul sent Rankin back to the line, where the Virginia Tech transfer hit the first, but missed the second. Johnson grabbed the rebound and managed to make it to within 30-feet of the hoop, but his desperation heave was short and to the right, giving Queens the win.
Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) led the Eagles with a season-high 20 points. Johnson added 18 while Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.) had 15. Charles Clark was the Eagles' fourth double-digit scorer, he had 11.
Queens became the first team since 2007 (LMU) to finish with six players in double figures. Lewis led the Royal charge with 16 points. Sean Morgan had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, but was far more inefficient than usual. The 6-6 post who transferred from Paine came in fourth in the nation in field goal percentage at 73.4 percent; however, the Eagles held him to 3-for-10 shooting from the field.
Carson-Newman was able to cut down on turnovers in the second half with just seven after the halftime break. C-N also hit 55 percent of its second half shots as it made its rally.
The Eagles hit the road for back-to-back games next week. Wednesday sends C-N to the land of the white squirrel for an 8 p.m. tipoff at Brevard. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network begins at 7:45 with the Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.