JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After starting 2017 at home, Carson-Newman (8-6, 5-3 South Atlantic Conference) heads away from Holt Fieldhouse for a pair of games, starting with a visit to Brevard's (2-12, 0-8 SAC) Boshamer Gym Wednesday night at 8.
The trip to Brevard will likely be the last one for Carson-Newman men's basketball, at least as conference foes, with Brevard's move to Division III and exit from the SAC complete next year.
"They scare me to death," Carson-Newman head coach Chuck Benson said. "All it takes is for them to make shots at home and for us to get lured into their matchup zone. If they're making shots and getting stops, they can beat anyone on any given night. It hasn't happened yet, but it will."
Carson-Newman hasn't lost at Brevard's Boshamer Gymnasium since the 2009-10 season. The Eagles dropped a 67-65 decision to the Tornado that day. However, since then, it's been about dominance for the Eagles.
Five of the last six meetings Carson-Newman has won by at least 20 points. That includes a 102-55 win over the Tornados last season at Boshamer Gym. That mark stands as C-N's largest margin of victory against a South Atlantic Conference foe.
Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) has been especially efficient in his career against Brevard. The junior has hit 36 of his 48 career shots against the Tornados, that's 78 percent shooting.
"We've tried to establish an inside presence for several years now," Benson said. "Sawyer has been the guy who's been the recipient of that. And, as we all know, he can make shots. We hope he can keep up with that. It's surprising that he's done that against a zone, because they try to limit his touches. In the past we've kept them honest by making perimeter jump shots."
Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) is the first Carson-Newman player this century with three consecutive double-double games. That shouldn't be a surprise considering Jones has already rewritten the C-N record books for double-doubles in a single season with eight.
Brevard has struggled mightily this season to the tune of an 0-8 start in South Atlantic Conference play. Brevard has lost its SAC game by an average of 23 points per game. The Tornados have only been within 10 points of one team in league play, Tusculum. Brevard lost its league opener 86-83 to the Pioneers.
The biggest issues for Brevard are shotmaking and rebounding. The Tornados rank in the bottom 10 in the country and last in the SAC in defensive rebounds per game, offensive rebounds per game and total rebounds. Brevard's offense, which averages 64.5 points per game, is 295th in the nation out of 305 teams. The Tornados field goal percentage of 39.4 ranks 299th in the country.
Brevard is led by guard Stevie Williams. The junior is sixth in the SAC in scoring with 17.6 points per game. He has scored double digits in all but two games this season for the Tornados (Queens and Pfeiffer, against whom he had nine). Williams has topped 20 points on six occasions and 30 once.
"That's their most consistent guy," Benson said. "He's a tough physical guard whose game is primarily based on attacking the rim. He'll be one of the primary guys we have to keep in check to some degree."
Tipoff between the Eagles and Tornados is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday. Coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 7:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.