VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (13-12, 11-8 South Atlantic Conference) wraps up a difficult stretch of three straight road games and five of six away from Holt Fieldhouse with a trip to Charlotte to challenge Queens (14-11, 11-8 South Atlantic Conference) Saturday at 4 p.m.
"Looking at the schedule this year, we knew this would be a challenging few weeks," head coach Chuck Benson "We haven't played our best, but we also haven't player our worst. We've played soundly through this stretch and have been able to maintain and generate some momentum."
The game is Queens' senior day. The Eagles will try to split the season series with the Royals and win on Queens' homecourt for the first time in series history. In fact, the Eagles have lost three straight in the Queen City if you include Carson-Newman's loss before the Christmas break to Johnson C. Smith. Queens won for the first time in Holt Fieldhouse earlier this year 82-80.
The Royals had a balanced team effort in the first meeting with six players scoring 10 points or more – led by Rob Lewis' 16 points. Sean Morgan added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Turnovers hampered the Eagles in that meeting. Carson-Newman coughed it up 19 times leading to 20 Royal points.
"We have to limit their inside easy baskets, easy transition baskets and can't let them get to the free throw line," Benson said. "I think we have a solid plan in place, now we've got to let our guys go execute."
Carson-Newman and Queens are tied for third in the South Atlantic Conference standings with Newberry. Catawba sits a game back of that group in sixth. The Indians are winners of four consecutive – the longest win streak in the league.
A win by the Eagles, or losses by Brevard or Anderson would clinch Carson-Newman a spot in the South Atlantic Conference tournament.
The Eagles are coming off a 10-point loss to Anderson in which they scored just 14 points in the paint. That's the lowest total inside for Carson-Newman in the last three years. Only 10 points in an exhibition loss to Appalachian State to kick off the 2012-13 season is lower for C-N.
Sean Morgan and Rob Lewis lead Queens offensively. Both average 15 points per game and are one of three pairs of teammates in the league to average more than 15 points per game. Morgan has tallied five double-doubles this year.
"Morgan's so physical," Benson said. "He's big, physical and powerful, but he's also got this nice finesse game to him too. But we feel like we have guys in Carson Brooks, Sawyer Williams and Josh Rogers who can compete with him and keep him off the boards."
The matchup features two of the more efficient offenses in the South Atlantic Conference. Queens is second in the league averaging 48.3 percent from the field, while Carson-Newman checks in in third hitting 48.1 percent of its shots.
Tipoff from Curry Arena is set for 4 p.m. Saturday. Pregame 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.