VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
ANDERSON, S.C. – Carson-Newman (1-0) opened the season with a strong 82-78 victory over Lander (0-1) on Friday evening at Anderson's Abney Center.
Charles Clark led the Eagles with a 26 points, making his way into the 1,700 point club in his career. He crossed the threshold with 3:48 left in the first half, making a free throw to put C-N up 38-31.
"I was just taking what the defense gave me," the senior guard said. "I was trying to find people early, that seemed to work."
Clark was 3-for-7 from 3-point land, making five of his 10 attempted field goals. He worked the boards on the defensive side of the ball, garnering seven of his eight rebounds. His outing marked the 45th time in his career that he collected over 20 points.
VIDEO: Charles Clark Interview
"Everybody on our team likes watching him do what he does," head coach Chuck Benson said. "I also thought that he created offense for others today. Quite possibly, his most unbelievable stat was that he shot 18 free throws. Anytime that we are shooting twice as many free throws as an opponent, making more than they are even attempting, I'm happy with our night."
The Bearcats were perfect through their first five shots, jumping out to an 11-9 lead nearly five minutes into the game.
Carson-Newman took the lead off of an 8-0 scoring run that was closed out by a Malik Abraham trey, his only basket from the arch.
Lander answered shortly after with a 9-0 run of its own, sparked by a three-pointer from Rahu Purdie. He went on to score 12 points in the Bearcat's opener with one rebound and an assist.
.@birdclark1 gets to 1️⃣7️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ career points. @granteichmann_ goes for 16 in his @CN_Hoops debut.— C-N Athletics (@CNathletics) November 11, 2017
It adds up to a pretty picture and a C-N �� in the first postgame infographic of the year pic.twitter.com/ZQKGnbGxgl
The Eagles went into the half holding a 46-41 advantage due in part to 13 points coming from Clark in the final six minutes of the opening half.
Lander regained the lead early in the second half on an 11-2 run that spanned the halftime period.
Both teams battled for the lead with the advantage changing hands 14 times in the first 10 minutes of the second half before the Eagles were able to separate themselves from Lander.
"I know (Lander) had had some really good showings in their preseason scrimmages. We hadn't really been tested in our preseason scrimmages and I thought you saw that testing come out tonight," Benson said. "I liked out poise, I liked our collective sort of play together. First game, relatively happy."
The Bearcats kept the game within reach from beyond the arch, knocking down 10 from the range on the evening. Both squads shot 33-percent from the three.
In his debut for C-N, Grant Teichmann amassed 16 points while making his presence known in the paint with two defensive rebounds and four assists. Cameron Andre also made his debut for the Orange and Blue, collecting 10 points and five rebounds.
"Cam Andre has not practiced all week. He's had a shoulder injury and was literally a gametime decision," Benson mentioned. "Well, I'm glad we did that because he performed."
VIDEO: Shaun Jones Interview
Srdjan Ivic led the Bearcats with a full stat line for a double of 18 points along with 10 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.
Carson-Newman was able to control the ball, making seven turnovers to Lander's eight. Benson's crew also out-rebounded the Bearcats, 38-35.
The Eagles continue their time in the Conference Challenge with a Saturday match-up against Southern Wesleyan. That game starts at 1 with a 12:45 airtime for the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country and cneagles.com/live.