VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Cam Holmes Interview
VIDEO: Sawyer Williams Interview
BREVARD, N.C. – Carson-Newman (9-6, 6-3 South Atlantic Conference) turned a four-point halftime lead into a 28-point second half advantage with aggressive defense en route to an 86-71 win at Brevard (2-13, 0-9 SAC) Wednesday night in what was likely C-N's final visit to Boshamer Gym.
The Eagles bid farewell to The Bosh with a win in what is Brevard's final year in the SAC before heading to Division II.
C-N led 42-38 at the halftime break and 42-40 30 seconds into the second half before erupting on 24-4 and 13-0 runs to go up by more than 20 on the Tornados.
"Brevard despite that record, has a very unique offensive style and can make shots," head coach Chuck Benson said. "Some guys made shots tonight. We made some adjustments with our zone the second half that gave us better coverage, then in the half court offensively, we got stops and got in transition."
The Eagles on the ball pressure and play of the passing lanes created 20 BC turnovers, a season high. Most of those turnovers were of the live-ball variety, too. The Eagles created 14 steals, the most since forcing 15 at Lees-McRae to start the 2012-13 season.
C-N turned those 20 turnovers into a season-best 24 points off giveaways.
"We challenged out guys to have to cover two, and to anticipate and force longer passes," Benson said. "Guys did a good job of getting on the ball, especially Charles and Cam, of having active hands and leading to points."
C-N quickly ballooned its lead to 10 not even three minutes into the second half.
Zack Pangallo (Newport, Ky.) knocked down a corner three, Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky,) worked an and-one layup to extend C-N's lead to 54-43. Brevard wouldn't be within 10 the rest of the game.
The Eagles really turned on the jets with about eight minutes to play with a 13-0 run. Following a Jamarquis Johnson three that made it 67-52 C-N with 9:19 to play, Holmes, Pangallo and Clark knocked down back-to-back-to-back treys. Then Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) picked off a pass at the head of the key, raced front court, and thundered down a right-handed, and-one tomahawk jam that brought the Carson-Newman bench to life.
Not to be outdone, Clark intercepted a pass to the left wing and raced unabated to the rack for a left-handed flush that had C-N up 80-52 with 6:24 to play.
C-N finished with six players in double figures, a first for this season. The last time it happened was a Dec. 2015 win at Holt Fieldhouse over Limestone.
"Makes it hard to deal with you when you've got that many guys who put points up and do it in an efficient fashion," Benson said. "They handled adversity well too with foul trouble. We talk about that a lot and how to respond. Our response to both adversity and prosperity is the same when facing both situations, to control the contollables and live in that moment to best handle it."
Williams led C-N with 21 points, his fifth time on the plus side of 20 this season and the 16th of his career. He also added five boards.
Clark followed suit with 17 while Pangallo scored a season-high 16 on 4-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
Jones, Holmes and Abraham each had 10 to round out the double-digit scorers for C-N.
C-N shot 53 percent from the field and outrebounded Brevard 34-28. The Tornados shot 41 percent for the game, but were limited to 34.4 percent shooting in the second half.
Of Brevard's 71 points, 65 came from three players. Johnson led Brevard with 24 points while Shelby Parris and Stevie Williams added 21 and 20, respectively.
Outside that triumvirate, the rest of the Tornados were 2-for-16 from the floor.
The Eagles remain on the road for a haul to Hartsville, S.C. Saturday. Tipoff at Coker is set for 4 p.m. from the DeLoach Center with a 3:45 airtime on the Eagle Sports Network with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.