VIDEO: Sawyer Williams Interview
VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Shaun Jones Interview
NEWBERRY, S.C. – A white-hot Carson-Newman men's basketball team (5-3, 2-0 SAC) drilled 67.6 percent of its shots and held Newberry (5-3, 1-2 SAC) without a field goal for 10 minutes in the second half en route to 116-94 triumph over the Wolves Saturday afternoon at Eleazer Arena.
The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Eagles while giving them a fifth consecutive win on Newberry's home court.
Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) made all 12 field goal attempts he took without missing to match Carson Brooks (C-N) and Rob Lewis (Queens) for a South Atlantic Conference record for most field goals attempted in a game without missing.
"I owe a lot of it to my teammates," Jones said. "They were patient and able to get the ball up the floor, then feed me easy baskets at the rim."
Jones' fiery shooting was the norm for the Eagles. He finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year.
The triumvirate of Jones, Sawer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) and Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) combined to finish 36-for-44 from the field. Williams finished with a season-high 33 points on 14-of-18 shooting. He also had 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double.
Clark finished with 26 points, six rebounds and seven assists. He made 10 of his 14 shots.
"That's ridiculous," Benson said. "You've seen it out of Sawyer time and time again. But for all three of those guys to do that. It's incredible. Shot selection was definitely a priority tonight. The guys' decision-making today was as good as it's been at any point this year."
Carson-Newman finished 48-for-71 from the field. The Eagles 48 made field goals are tied with West Liberty for the third most made in a single game in Division II this season. The Eagles' 67.6 percent shooting is the second best mark in Division II this year behind a 71.7 percent effort from Colorado Mesa against Dine'.
The Eagles were able to take advantage of an aggressive Newberry defense to get open looks at the rim. C-N scored 82 points in the paint. The most for C-N since the turn of the century.
As impressive as the Eagles' offense was, the C-N defense ratcheted up a few notches in the second half to make it impossible for Newberry to rally. The Eagles held Newberry without a field goal from the 10:57 mark in the second half to the 47-second mark. It was a Clark goaltend of a Rob Valentine layup that snapped the drought for the Wolves.
While Newberry struggled to make shots, C-N made 14 consecutive buckets to produce runs of 10-2 and 12-0 to build a 29-point lead. When the Wolves were mired in the offensive doldrums, they missed 13 straight field goal attempts. The Wolves did make 14-of-16 free throws during the span to prevent the game from getting too out of hand.
"I thought first off, our guys did a good job of listening to what our plan was," head coach Chuck Benson said. "I put the pressure on Charles and Shaun to help formulate and create our scout for this game. They did a masterful job of doing that. The players had such great passion and determination. To know we held an elite offensive team like Newberry without a field goal for 10 minutes, I'm so proud of our guys."
Carson-Newman flashed what training under Johnny Long and Thomas Collins can do for a team. As the game wore on against the up-tempo Wolves, the Eagles only seemed to get stronger.
"I think one of the best decisions that our institution made was in bringing on Johnny Long, and specifically us, Thomas Collins," Benson said of the strength program. "I give them a lot of credit for our unity and toughness. I couldn't be happier with where we are with that progress at this point."
That bore out in how Carson-Newman took care of the basketball. The Eagles turned it over 17 times in the first half – although only five of those came from Newberry steals. C-N only coughed it up five times in the first 15 minutes of the second half before finishing with 27 turnovers for the day.
That number is two above what Newberry's opponents have averaged this season. The Wolves turned those turnovers into 30 points; however, that wasn't enough to counter the Eagles' mind-numbing offensive efficiency.
"You can't simulate what Newberry does," Benson said. "A lot of those turnovers early were not understanding how hard Dave Davis' teams play. Eventually, we started thinking fast and playing slow. They got comfortable and did a much better job with that."
Carson-Newman forced 15 Newberry turnovers and scored 16 points off them.
Cameron Holmes (Fort Mill, S.C.) tallied his second career game with double-digits. He went for 12 points with four made threes in 10 attempts. He set a new career high with eight rebounds and a career high four steals.
Reece Anderson (Douglasville, Ga.) notched his first career start by picking up a career high three blocks.
Newberry finished with four players in double-digits. Mason Spease led the way with 22 points. Marshall Lange had 18. The Wolves shot 42.9 percent from the field, but just 32.4 percent for the second half. The Eagles held the Wolves under their season averages for scoring, field goal percentage, threes made per game and three-point field goal percentage.
Carson-Newman has a week off before taking on Queens next Saturday. Tipoff with the Royals, who will presumably be ranked in the top 15, is set for 4 p.m. Coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 3:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.