VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Josh Murray snipet
ANDERSON, S.C.—Carson-Newman displayed a balanced offense throughout an efficient contest Saturday afternoon as five Eagles tallied double-digit scoring tallies during a 27-point win over Southern Wesleyan to cap off the opening weekend of the season in Anderson, S.C.
Senior guard Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led C-N (2-0) with 16 points after connecting on 5-of-9 shooting from the field while four other Eagles finished with 13 points on the day. Grant Teichmann (Brentwood, Tenn.), Mason Bates (Cookevile, Tenn.), Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) and Josh Murray (Burlington, N.C.) contributed 13 points during the win while the latter registered a career-high following a perfect 6-for-6 showing on the day.
Prior to the effort against the Warriors, Murray's career-best was four points on four separate occasions a season ago.
"Josh has been in the program for a few years now but really didn't get that many opportunities," coach Chuck Benson said courtside following the victory. "Now that Sawyer Williams is gone to graduation, that opens the door for Murray to come in and compete. He gave us a lot today and it helps us when he can bring us that element down low."
Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) finished a point shy of becoming the sixth Eagle to contribute double-digits in scoring as the junior tallied nine points with six rebounds. In all, the club produced a 61 percent clip from the field while connecting on half, 12-of-24, in three-pointers.
"We challenged our guys after last night. I think we had only 11 assists and I know we missed a lot of opportunities to share the ball," Benson said. "I told our guys to recognize that second defender and to get the ball moving. I thought from the get-go our guys were doing that today. We had 24 assists today and when you are moving the ball like that, a lot of guys are going to get to score some points."
If not for Justice McCullough, Carson-Newman would have run away with the game right out of the gate, but the forward was perfect on his first three shot attempts to tally the first six points of the game for Southern Wesleyan (0-2).
After a tie ballgame four minutes in, Carson-Newman went on a quick 7-0 run to create separation thanks to a basket from Murray on the right block, a layup from Charles Clark from the right-elbow and a three-pointer from Mason Bates in the right corner.
Leading 13-6 in the first half, C-N stretched its lead to 10 three minutes later before the Warriors brought the contest to within three points at a 20-17 margin following a four-point play from Jalen Lowery on a three-pointer and a foul shot when he sought out contact from Abraham on a deep trey.
The Eagles then spurted off eight-straight to gain another lead before extending the lead to as many as 18 at the halftime break. Murray led all scorers with 12 points in the first 20 minutes of action while C-N made all but ten shots taken in the opening frame.
Teichmann began the second half with a bang on his second triple of the contest just 30 minutes into the half to put the Eagles up by 21. The margin remained the same over the course of the next seven minutes before the Warriors crept into striking distance, behind only 16 after a three-ball from Kylie Blackett.
The score did not get any closer as Carson-Newman shot 59 percent in the second while taking advantage of 17 second-chance opportunities. Overall, the Eagles sported a 61 percent shooting clip while knocking down half of the three-point shots taken.
"We are big on efficiency. We want to take a lot of shots near the basket. We think that also gives us a chance at three free-throw line," Benson said. "We spend a lot of time on our three-point game in practice and when you are shooting with the percentages we had today, it gives you a good chance to win some games. Credit to our guys for shooting with confidence today."
During the 95-68 win Saturday afternoon, C-N dominated in the paint by outscoring the Warriors 48-to-16 on the blocks. The Eagles also benefited from 39 points coming off the bench as Benson played a total of 11 players during the 27-point victory.
Jeremy Wert led all scorers, albeit in a losing effort, with 20 points on a game-high 17 shot-attempts. McCullough finished the day with 13 points while Kylie Blackett knocked down a pair of three's in the loss for the Warriors.
Carson-Newman will be back in action on Nov. 15 with a road trek to Virginia-Wise prior to coming home for the opener inside Holt Fieldhouse on Nov. 18 against King.