VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Sawyer Williams Interview
HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker (6-8, 5-5 SAC) connected on 50 percent of its shots while Carson-Newman (6-8, 5-5 SAC) struggled offensively in the second half en route to a 75-64 defeat at the hands of the Cobras Saturday afternoon at the DeLoach Center.
The Cobras pounced out to a 42-34 halftime lead behind 21 first-half points from the SAC's leading scorer Errick Bethel. Bethel would finish with 29 points – the second most points and individual has scored against C-N this season.
He was 10-for-18 from the floor and 6-for-11 from beyond the arc.
"You know Bethel is very capable," head coach Benson said. "But they've lost when he's scoring. So it's not all about him. I thought we did a good job of taking care of the basketball and limiting the ways that they score. But Bethel kept making tough shots and we seemingly never recovered from him just kicking us in the teeth with his first half performance."
Following a Mason Bates (Clarkesville, Tenn.) free throw that cut C-N's deficit to 34-32 with three minutes left in the first half, Coker scored 29 of the next 39 points in the game to take a 21-point lead from which C-N would not recover.
"They are so fast and quick, we looked like we we're stuck in the mud today," Benson said. "I've felt like that for year. They have dominated us the last two years – I don't feel like we're in the same league as them. For whatever reason, they have got us pegged. Credit the job Coach Schmotzer has done on us.
"We probably spent more time for this game than any other game this season trying to get down their tendencies offensively. They don't have tendencies, they have principles. We weren't able to get them contained."
Bethel's 29-point outburst overshadowed Sawyer Williams' (Owenton, Ky.) third career double-double. Williams had 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting and 11 rebounds against near constant double and triple teams on the low blocks.
"Sawyer was a one-man wrecking crew today," Benson said. "He'll only get better. I'm really happy for him. It's tough because they knew our strength in the post. They were constantly doubling and tripling out post, so for him to do what he did, it's phenomenal considering the defense he faced."
Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.) was also able to do work inside with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Trey Marshall and Alex Cohen rounded out Coker's double-digit scorers with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Eagles took significantly better care of the basketball against the Cobras in the second meeting. C-N only turned it over 11 times after coughing it up 24 in the first meeting in Holt Fieldhouse.
Coker sweeps the season series with C-N and has won three straight against the Eagles.
The Eagles return home Wednesday to duel with Tusculum. Tipoff with C-N's archrival is set for 8 p.m. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 7:45 p.m. with the Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.