VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (4-2) aims to get back to its hot-shooting ways when Johnson C. Smith (2-4) comes to Holt Fieldhouse to close out nonconference play Wednesday at 7 p.m.
All proceeds from the game and the women's game against Johnson University preceding it at 5 p.m. will be donated to aid in the Gatlinburg, Sevier County and Pigeon Forge communities' recovery from the historic wildfires that hit the region Monday night.
"It's a true tragedy," head coach Chuck Benson said. "Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the folks in the affected areas. Hopefully this donation will help in some way."
Carson-Newman is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time this season. The Eagles are looking to avoid their second three-game skid in the last five years. The Eagles lost in succession to Lenoir-Rhyne, Tusculum and Wingate last season. You have to go back to 2010 to find C-N's last three-game skid.
C-N's sharpshooting from deep came to an end in Owensboro. The Eagles hit four and five threes against Hillsdale and Winona State, respectively after averaging 9.8 makes a game through the season's first four contests.
Furthermore, the Eagles made a quarter of their three-point attempts over the weekend after averaging a 48 percent clip from deep on their four-game win streak to start the season. - Another indicator of the Eagles' success in the first four games versus the last two comes in assists. C-N averaged 16.75 helpers a game to start the year, but handed out just 8.5 a game in the losses to the Chargers and Warriors. No Eagle had more than two assists in the games versus Winona State and Hillsdale.
"We need to have a top-notch game for our own psyche," Benson said. "We've told our guys that those things happen. We had the right guys taking good shots. Sometimes they don't fall. I'm glad we've dealt with it because it's a lesson for us. We just have to encourage our guys and know that we have elite-level shooters who will come back into form."
In addition to its two-game skid overall, Carson-Newman aims to snap a five-game losing streak to the Golden Bulls. The Eagles haven't beaten Johnson C. Smith since a 77-66 win over JCSU in the semifinals of the Atlantic Region Tournament in 2001.
The Golden Bulls entered the game off an 89-83 to No. 17 Queens. JCSU has lost three straight and haven't won since beating Bluefield State 85-58 on Nov. 18.
"They gave Queens a good scare," Benson said. "We know they are going to bring a lot of fight and determination in here. They are athletic and deep. We know it's going to be a challenge."
JCSU is led by Robert Davis and Gabon Williams. Davis is averaging 15.8 points per game while Williams chips in 14.2. The Golden Bulls strength this season has been the play inside. JCSU is outrebounding their opposition by 6.2 boards per game.
Conversely, the three-point shot hasn't work much for the Golden Bulls. JCSU ranks 297th out of 307 teams in Division II for the fewest threes made per game. The Golden Bulls average 4.5 a contest.
Johnson C. Smith has produced two legendary Harlem Globetrotters. Curly Neal graduated from the Charlotte-based college in 1962 while Twiggy Sanders followed in 1974. Neal, who played with the Globetrotters for 22 seasons, is one of six individuals to have a jersey retired by the organization. Neal averaged 23.1 points per game in his Golden Bull career and was an All-CIAA selection.
Carson-Newman's two preseason All-SAC selections, Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) will look to continue double-digit scoring streaks for the Eagles. Both players have hit double figures in every game this season. Clark is riding a 39-game double-digit scoring streak dating back to his freshman year; Williams has gone for 10 points or more in 14 consecutive games dating back to his junior season.
Tipoff for the Eagles' showdown with Johnson C. Smith is set for 7 p.m. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 6:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.