JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (10-2, 4-2 South Atlantic Conference) looks to wrap up 2017 with its best start since joining Division II and a 13th straight win at Holt Fieldhouse when Limestone (6-6, 2-2 Conference Carolinas) comes to Mossy Creek for a 7 p.m. tip Tuesday.
The Eagles are coming off an 90-83 triumph over the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears while Limestone has lost back-to-back contests to Mount Olive and Claflin.
Carson-Newman is looking to close out the fall semester on a strong note. The Eagles have gone into the break with a stubbed toe three of the last four seasons.
The Eagles lost to Lenoir-Rhyne on Dec. 17 last year 72-66 in Shuford Gym. The year before that, Carson-Newman picked up a five-point win over the Bears at Holt Fieldhouse when they were ranked No. 21 in the country. The 2014-15 season saw Carson-Newman get shellacked at Johnson C. Smith 79-51.
"We've had the ability to finish strong that first semester, and we've had the ability to lay an egg," head coach Chuck Benson said. "I tend to believe this version of the Eagles is ready to close out strong and head into the Christmas break with a sweet feeling, but time will tell."
A win for the Eagles would mean C-N had its best 13-game start to a season in hand for the Division II era. No team since 1992 has gotten through 13 games without losing at least three contests for the Eagles.
Limestone is playing its first road game since Nov. 25, a 71-60 loss at Lenoir-Rhyne. The Saints had played six straight at home, going 3-3 in that stretch.
The Saints are 4-2 against South Atlantic Conference competition this season. Limestone split two games with Coker and lost on the road to Lenoir-Rhyne. However, they started the year with three straight wins over Wingate, Anderson and Mars Hill.
"They know how to play at a high level," Benson said. "Their record is no indicator of what they are capable of. Their record against our league is an indicator of what they are capable of. We'll have our hands full. They are sound and solid defensively and they have really high level guard play. They have what it takes to win on any given night."
Carson-Newman has won 13 consecutive games inside the friendly confines of Holt Fieldhouse. All but two of the last 13 games inside of Holt Fieldhouse have been decided by double-digits. Carson-Newman has beaten the last 13 teams it's faced at home by an average of 21.7 points. Carson-Newman hasn't lost in Holt since Jan. 7, 2017, 79-77 to Wingate.
In fact, the Eagles are 14-1 inside of Holt Fieldhouse for the 2017 calendar year. The Eagles are averaging 56 percent shooting from the field on the streak, including a 44 percent effort from behind the arc. Carson-Newman is averaging a shade over 10 threes a game at home in the 2017 calendar year.
Limestone's Kenny Hairston has shot more threes than anyone else in the country. He averages 4.67 made treys a game, a figure that ranks number two in the country. Hairston went 1-7 from beyond the arc when the teams got together in Holt Fieldhouse two years ago. He and TJ Sheppard have combined to knock down 80 triples this season. No one else on the Limestone roster has hit more than eight treys this year.
Hairston and Clark both are averaging 20.6 points per game and have scored 247 points in 12 games. They are tied as the fifth leading scorers in the Southeast Region.
Tipoff between the Eagles and Saints is set for 7 p.m. Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on the Eagles Sports Network on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.