Eagles open with romp of Southern Wesleyan, 106-83

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Nov 12, 2016

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GREENWOOD, S.C. – Carson-Newman (1-0) opened up the season in style with a 106-83 trouncing of Southern Wesleyan (0-1) Friday night at the Lander Tip-off Classic at Horne Arena. 

The Eagles scampered out of the gates on a 20-6 run and never looked back in a contest that saw Carson-Newman score the third most points in a season-opening contest in school history. 

The only years where Carson-Newman scored more points on opening night were 129-74 win to kick off 1971-72 over Clinch Valley (now UVA-Wise) and a 107-86 win over Pikeville to start the 1987-88 season. 

It marked the first time that the Eagles opened the season with a 100-point effort since the 2007-08 season. 

"Obviously I was glad with our offensive performance," head coach Chuck Benson said. "It certainly felt like we took and made our fair share today.  For an opening-round game, I'll certainly take it."

Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) and Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) both turned in 20-point efforts for the Eagles in a little over 20 minutes of game action. 

Abraham led the way with 21 points on five-of-eight shooting from deep.  Abraham hit the most threes in a single game for the Eagles since Ish Sanders buried six against Queens on Feb. 22, 2014. 

Meanwhile Clark did his usual things.  The junior crested double digits for a 35th straight night and turned in his 28th career 20-point performance. The Murfreesboro, Tenn.-native went 6-for-10 from the floor and four-for-seven from deep, but was an uncharacteristic four-of-eight from the stripe. V He also had three steals and four assists. 

"Charles has done it so many times, I'm not surprised," Benson said. "But I really have to commend our training staff and Charles to play tonight in spite of an injury." 

A whopping nine players made their debuts on the night for the Eagles.  Every member of the team who dressed played, with 10 Eagles taking the floor for double-digit minutes. 

Valdosta State transfer Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) nearly had a double-double with 12 points and nine boards, including six offensive caroms.  The junior guard was six-for-seven from the field. 

Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky,) started his senior year off with a 14-point, five-rebound, three-assist effort.  Finally, Dawan Perry (Detroit, Mich.) turned in a 12-point outing in his debut. 

"We spread out the minutes tonight," Benson said. "The new guys really brought quite a bit to the table.  We can build on this and make some improvements on the defensive side of the ball, particularly with the fouling.  This was a bloodletting tonight."

Carson-Newman blistered the nets with 57.6 percent shooting.  That included a 15-for-26 barrage from three-point range.  The overall field goal percentage tally is the Eagles best since a 34-for-59 (57.6 percent) effort against Brevard in January of 2016.  The Eagles' 15 made threes are the most since they drilled that many against Brevard on Jan. 15, 2014. 

The Eagles limited Southern Wesleyan to 38.1 percent shooting.  Darius Sharpe led the Warriors with 21 points.  However, the guard was inefficient, going 6-for-18 from the floor and 1-for-8 from three.

Carson-Newman is back in action Saturday against the host Lander Bearcats at 3:00 p.m. Coverage of the game starts at 2:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.  

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