Eagles to celebrate Williams, Barnett with senior day Saturday versus Coker

C-N Basketball: Chuck Benson previews Coker 2-24-17
Feb 24, 2017

VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview  

C-N Game Notes

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (17-10, 14-7 South Atlantic Conference) will pay homage to senior center Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) and guard turned student assistant Andy Barnett (Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) in the Eagles final regular season home Saturday at 4 p.m. against Coker (8-19, 5-16 SAC). 

The Eagles have already locked up the four seed and a first round home game for the South Atlantic Conference tournament against either Catawba, Newberry or Anderson. 

C-N will recognize Williams and Barnett in a ceremony beginning at the conclusion of the women's game, which tips at 2 p.m. 

Williams has started 87 games for his Carson-Newman career.  He has twice been named CoSIDA Academic All-District twice in his career.  This year he was a preseason selection to the All-SAC first team and was nominated to the NABC Allstate Good Works Team. 

Williams has 1,466 points all-time, he needs six to match Kyle Gribble for 12th on the all-time list and fourth among players in the Division II era. Williams has scored double digits in 34 consecutive games - the second longest streak in school history behind Charles Clark's 52- game string, which came to an end earlier this season at Queens. The nation's active leader in field goal percentage, Williams will finish among the top players in South Atlantic Conference history with 61.2 percent shooting lifetime. 

"I hope our fans understand what they've been watching in him for the last four years," head coach Chuck Benson said. "He is a one-of-a-kind player the way he goes about his business and plays the game.  I joke with him all the time because he's so very effective, but when it comes down to it, it's a right-handed shot over his left shoulder.  How he gets to that point, there are thousands of permutations.  He'll hopefully be a 1,500-point scorer with one shot, and that's a testament to how effective and efficient he is."

Barnett made the transition to the bench after suffering a stroke in April of 2016.  Barnett is the reigning champion of the Mossy Creek Madness slam dunk contest. He drilled 59 threes in his career at Carson-Newman and started 11 games.  Barnett has been featured on WATE, WVLT, WBIR and the Knoxville News Sentinel for overcoming his stroke. 

"Andy has done a good job adjusting to a difficult hand that he was dealt," Benson said. "He's been a part of success.  We've won every year that he's been here, he's helped us to a SAC tournament title and two NCAA tournaments."

As the regular season draws to a close, a number of records are within arm's reach for the Eagles. Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) moved past Kyle Gribble with a 23-point effort against Wingate and into 12th place on the all-time scoring list. Clark ranks third among players in the Division II era. He became the program's 12th, 1500-point scorer against Brevard with a 33-point game. Clark is now five points away from Antoine Davis for 11th all-time and second in the Division II era.

Arguably one of the best scorers in Carson-Newman history, Davis scored 1526 points in 84 career games. Clark will play in his 86th on Saturday.

Williams 244 career offensive rebounds put him one away from the top six in SAC history for the category.  His 558 made field goals put him 10th for the career category in SAC history. 

Meanwhile, with his 403 career made free throws, Clark is already in the top 10 for the category in league history.  The guard will realistically have a run at Helgi Magnusson's league record for the category.  The Catawba Indian made 596 in his career.

Clark's February has been especially eye-catching. The junior is averaging 25 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists since the calendar turned over. He's connecting on 55 percent of his shots and 53 percent of his threes. Throw in the first two triple-doubles in Carson-Newman history and a 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio and you have the makings for one of the greatest months of basketball for an individual in C-N history.

Carson-Newman has won four consecutive against the Cobras, which is the longest winning streak for either team in the series' brief 10-game history.

Jaquez Motley for Coker is one of the best three-point shooters in the league. The guard with NBA range knocks down 2.91 triples a game, which is third in the conference. He was 6-for-13 from deep in the first meeting this season.

"Coker will bring it and play hard, there's no doubt about that," Benson said. "They are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the conference.  They attack the rim and get to the free throw line more than anyone else in the league.  The way they play defense is relentless for 40 minutes and reminds you a little bit of a Newberry.  This is in no way going to be a simple final regular season game." 

Tipoff between the Eagles and Coker is set for 4 p.m.  Pregame coverage starts at 3:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.

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