C-N celebrates senior day looking to lock down first round home game in SAC tournament

C-N celebrates senior day looking to lock down first round home game in SAC tournament

C-N Game Notes

VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (14-13, 12-9 South Atlantic Conference) will pay homage to a pair of seniors as it looks to seize a first round home game in the SAC tournament.  Standing in the way of that goal is the league's number two team, Newberry (19-8, 13-8 SAC). 

Tipoff from Holt Fieldhouse is set for 4 p.m.

With a win, Carson-Newman would guarantee itself a two-seed in the South Atlantic Conference tournament.  The Eagles' opponent in that scenario would be either Anderson or Coker. 

Meanwhile a loss would likely move Carson-Newman into a four-five matchup with Queens.  The Eagles would host the Royals if they lost at Anderson; however, the Eagles would be headed to the Queen City if QU comes out on top of the Trojans. 

A Wingate loss to Brevard coupled with losses by Carson-Newman and Queens would mean that the Eagles would be the three seed and likely playing host to Catawba in the opening round of the conference tournament.

"Our guys are motivated," head coach Chuck Benson said. "We know what's at stake and the only thing true about this year is that LMU has been dominant.  There are so many other scenarios that follow after that, that we can only focus on us and how we perform."

Carson-Newman's 2014-15 team features two seniors, guard Jared Johnson (Springfield, Mass.) and forward Reid Burke (Nashville, Tenn.).

"They've both been about the team, been about what we are trying to accomplish and they've both been a part of success," head coach Chuck Benson. "Reid's helped us to an NCAA tournament. Jared's been here four years and has developed into a leader this year in spite of battling every injury known to man. Hopefully they both help us close this season on a run.  They've both meant a lot to me personally and this program."

Johnson has scored 817 points in his career and earned preseason all-conference honors prior to his senior season.  Johnson nailed down his career high during his junior season when he plopped 27 points on Newberry in a road win in the Palmetto State. He has appeared in 103 games for the Eagles and started 67 of them.  Johnson has 35 career double figure games, the Eagles are 23-12 when he scores more than 10 points. 

Burke is a two-year player for the Eagles. He led Carson-Newman to an early season when his senior year at Tusculum when he scored 10 points on the Pioneers and went a career-best 7-for-8 from the free throw line.

Carson-Newman is angling for a sixth consecutive win over the Wolves.  The Eagles lead the all-time series 27-18 heading into the teams' 46th meeting. Carson-Newman won earlier this season in two overtimes after trailing by 10 with five minutes remaining in regulation.

The Wolves' season falls into three discernible segments.  Newberry started the season by winning 13 of its first 14 games.  However, an injury to star Dondray Walker saw the Wolves lose seven of their next eight games.  Walker returned Wednesday night in Newberry's 100-76 win over Wingate with 18 points, including four-of-five from three-point range.  That win extended the Wolves' current streak to five consecutive wins. 

"I thought going into this year Dondray was going to be the player of the year in this league," Benson said. "He knows their style and believes in it thoroughly.  It speaks volumes of the player that he is for him to be out for a month and a half and score 18 on Wingate."

Newberry has elevated itself to 10th in the latest Southeast Region rankings. 

Tipoff from Holt Fieldhouse is set for 4 p.m. Saturday. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts 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.

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