Hot-shooting ‘Splitters fell Eagles

Hot-shooting ‘Splitters fell Eagles

VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 3 Lincoln Memorial (26-1, 20-1 South Atlantic Conference) canned 50.8 percent of its shots while limiting Carson-Newman (14-13, 12-9 SAC) to 36 percent shooting en route to a 91-61 hammering of the Eagles at home. 

The win for LMU earns the Railsplitters a series split with the Eagles after Carson-Newman handed then No. 1 LMU an 87-72 defeat in Harrogate. 

"They made it very tough from a one-on-one standpoint," head coach Chuck Benson said. "They made it tremendously difficult to get a catch inside and completely conceded our perimeter play.  I really and truly thought LMU would take away the inside, credit to them for a great gameplan.  The thing that's disappointing is that they were so much more physically dominant inside than us."

The 30-point margin of defeat represents Carson-Newman's worst home loss this century.  Carson-Newman was defeated by Tusculum 77-51 on Feb. 13, 2010 behind 39 points from Kyle Moore and 60 percent shooting from the Pioneers.  That game marked the previous high water mark for worst loss in Holt since 2000.

Carson-Newman's last 30-point defeat came on the road in 2011 to Belmont Abbey when the Eagles dropped a 93-62 decision to the Crusaders.  The 30-point win is LMU's second largest margin of victory in the series dating back to the 1958-59 season.  The Railsplitters beat the Eagles 83-52 in Harrogate during the 2002-03 season.

After Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) hit a three to open the game for the Eagles, then LMU blistered with a 12-0 run and a 19-2 run to build a 26-point lead it would not relinquish.  The Eagles drew no closer than 17 after the Railsplitters' flourish.

Jared Johnson (Springfield, Mass.) led the charge with 19 points for the Eagles. He played 30 minutes off the bench and drilled three of his six three-point attempts. 

Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.) added 12 points, all in the second half. Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) had 10. 

Luquon Choice blistered LMU's attack with a season high 34 points, the most points the Eagles have allowed to an individual this season.  He connected on 7-of-14 three point attempts.  Choice is the first player to hit that many threes against Carson-Newman since Patrick Monroe hit seven against the Eagles in November for Mars Hill. 

"First of all Lorenza Ross led them in transition," Benson said. "He got deep penetration and had great inside out passing which led to nice looks for Choice. We had no answer to that.  We had no answer to getting the ball contained and no answer to scoring points in response."

Lorenza Ross had a double-double for LMU with 12 points and 11 assists.  Dorian Pinson and Gerel Simmons each had 11.

The Eagles were limited to a season-low 14 points in the paint.  LMU didn't concede a point inside for the game's first 15 minutes.

"This loss won't stew with us," Benson said. "I may not sleep, but our players can care less after the game's over. We'll focus on Newberry to close out the regular season.  We'll establish our plan and see if we can execute that Saturday."

Carson-Newman celebrates its senior day Saturday against Newberry.  Tipoff between the Eagles and Wolves is set for 4 p.m.  Coverage will be available on the Eagle Sports Network starting at 3:45 with the Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at 

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