VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Reece Anderson Interview
VIDEO: Charles Clark Interview
The Eagles would outscore the Pioneers 20-5 over that span, turning a four-point Tusculum lead into the 11-point win.
"Tusculum is such a tough to defend because they have a great inside-out presence," head coach Chuck Benson said. "We decided to roll the dice and trust Sawyer Williams and Parker Role' inside on defending Chase Mounce inside. We didn't want to let them get excited making a number of threes. Their volume was way down in the second half."
The win snaps a streak of back-to-back losses to the Pioneers inside of Holt Fieldhouse.
Tusculum missed 14 consecutive shots down the stretch to help the Eagles to the win. The Pioneers lone points during that span came from five free throws.
"We did a good job of contesting shots, and they were getting one and done deals without second chances," Benson said. "The credit goes to our guys, we were a bit more diverse with our approach tonight and it paid off on the defensive side."
The Pioneers used a 15-4 run to grab the four-point edge with 8:18 to play following a Zach Davis layup.
Carson-Newman quickly responded with a three from Cameron Holmes (Fort Mill, S.C.). A twisting layup by Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky,) followed by a pair of free throws from Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) gave the Eagles the lead for good, 82-81 with 4:53 to play.
The Eagles attack was as balanced as its been this season. Four players scored at least 16 points, led by Malik Abraham's (Snellville, Ga.) 21 points. He matches a career high with that effort. Abraham reset his career high for rebounds, collecting nine caroms, eight of which were on the defensive glass.
Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) became the sole owner of Carson-Newman's single-season double-doubles record with his seventh of the season. He had 18 points to go along with 10 boards.
Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) added a quiet 17, while Williams returned from injury by coming off the bench to score 16.
"This goes back to the fact that we have capable shotmakers and creators," Benson said. "They shared it well and moved it well. The real story tonight was Malik's rebounding. Nine boards. He's made a concerted effort to get on the glass."
C-N matched a season low with only eight turnovers while handing out 20 assists for a third time this season.
The Eagles return to the hardwood Jan. 7 at home against Wingate. Tipoff with the Bulldogs 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.