VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
NEWBERRY, S.C. – Despite four Eagles making it into double-digit scoring, No. 20 Carson-Newman (7-1, 1-1) was knocked from the ranks of the undefeated in a 75-70 loss at the hands of Newberry (6-3, 2-1) on Saturday afternoon at Eleazer Arena.
The Eagles shot 47-percent from the field, marking their lowest clip of the season, while shooting 32-percent from distance, their lowest since Nov. 15. From free throw range, they shot 71-percent.
The Orange and Blue mustered just 26 points in the paint, their lowest amount this season. They also turned the ball over 18 times to Newberry's nine.
"I think everything that could go wrong went wrong," head coach Chuck Benson said of his team's outing. "I'm really surprised at out lack of poise as a program from the get-go. Really, to say I'm disappointed, there's not a strong enough word for me to use to say how disappointed I really am in our veterans.
"If they don't come to compete, then they're going to get called out. We had guys today that did not come to compete."
Charles Clark had a team-leading 15 points, going 3-for-7 from the field, 50-percent from three-point land and was perfect in each of his six visits to the line. He amassed four rebounds and two assists in the effort with a season-high six turnovers.
"There aren't many (losses) that hurt, but this one did," the senior guard said. "We were just so close to history; we had a lot of things going on."
VIDEO: Charles Clark Interview
The Wolves outrebounded the Eagles 36-33, marking the first time C-N had been outrebounded since a win over King on Nov. 18 when the Tornado achieved four more boards than the Eagles. Benson's bunch gave up 17 offensive rebounds to the Wolves on Saturday, the most by an opponent in 2017.
"When you give up 17 offensive rebounds to a team, then that tells me that you weren't ready for the fight," Benson mentioned.
The Eagles grabbed a 10-point lead over halfway through the first half at 20-10 on a layup by Shaun Jones before the Wolves started chipping away at what ended up being C-N's largest lead in the outing.
An 8-3 Newberry scoring run that included two three-pointers from Rob Valentine through almost four minutes of play cut the Eagles lead to at 26-23 with just over four minutes left in the opening half.
In the final minute, a Teichmann free throw was answered with a Valentine three to give the Wolves a 31-29 lead, but that advantage would be brief as Clark put up a three of his own with 39 ticks on the clock. Stepp answered with another trey before Clark struck back with the exclamation point shot beyond the arc with just eight seconds remaining to give the Eagles a 35-34 lead at the break.
Carson-Newman opened the second half with a layup from Jones that spurred an 8-3 scoring run that put the Eagles up 43-37 just over two minutes in. Both teams took turns scoring before a foul was called on Jamaal Satisfield, sending Josh Murray to the line for two, making the first but missing the second to give the Eagles a two-point advantage at 44-42.
Seconds later, D.J. Copeland drained a three to regain the Newberry lead and the Wolves did not look back, holding the lead from that point forward, leading by as many as 11 down the stretch for their largest lead of the game on a James Stepp long ball to put his team up 55-44.
Following that, the Eagles took on a 20-10 run over eight minutes of play that was capped by an Abraham drive to the basket for a layup and foul for the and one to send him to the line with 4:22 remaining. His free throw cut the Newberry lead to one at 65-63.
Moments later, an over the head layup by Jabrie Bullard put the Wolves up 73-68 before Clark was fouled, sending him to the line to make both free throws with 40 seconds left.
A jumper by Stepp with 13 ticks remaining gave the Wolves a 75-70 lead that was followed shortly after by a turnover on a steal by Bullard to put the dagger in the Eagles' undefeated record.
"I don't know anything else we could have said or done in preparation to really make an issue of (being undefeated), and that's just so disappointing," Benson said. "Credit goes to Newberry because they outworked us. They out-efforted us and that's where the credit belongs for them."
Stepp accounted for 19 of the team's 44 points coming off the bench. He had four boards, three assists and a steal.
Valentine also led the team with 19 points, going 5-for-7 from three-point range. The guard notched ffive rebounds
The Eagles look to turn things around as they stay on the road in the conference with a visit to Anderson on Wednesday. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. at Eleazer Arena. Pregame coverage begins at 7:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.