JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman senior guard Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) takes aim at another scoring milestone when the Eagles resume South Atlantic Conference play Saturday at 4 p.m. inside Holt Fieldhouse against the Catawba College Catawba Indians (3-8, 0-6 SAC).
Clark needs 11 points to become the fifth player in Carson-Newman history and the fourth in the history of the South Atlantic Conference with 2,000 career points.
Mike Ogan, Tommy Everette, Steve Adams and Chris Jones have hit the mark for Carson-Newman. Sean Barnette (Wingate), Antonio Houston (Catawba) and Luquon Choice (Lincoln Memorial) have all bypassed it for the league.
Clark can also catch Jones and take over fourth place on Carson-Newman's all-time scoring list. He needs 18 points to catch the Eagles' first All-American. Carson-Newman would need a prodigious outing to catch Choice on the SAC's scoring list in one game. Choice scored 2,039 points in his LMU career, meaning Clark needs half a hundred to catch Choice in just one outing.
Carson-Newman has won 14 consecutive games inside the friendly confines of Holt Fieldhouse. All but two of the last 14 games inside of Holt Fieldhouse have been decided by double-digits. Carson-Newman has beaten the last 14 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 were 15-1 inside of Holt Fieldhouse for the 2017 calendar year.
"This game starts murder's row for us," head coach Chuck Benson said. "Catawba is one of the more talented teams in this conference and are light years better than what their record indicates. Then you roll into road trips to Tusculum and Wingate followed by a televised game against LMU. We have to keep grinding and be focused and locked in as we take the floor on Saturday."
The series of late between Carson-Newman and Catawba has been incredibly tight. C-N leads on aggregate by seven points, 567-559 over the last nine meetings. Carson-Newman has a 5-4 lead in the series over those meetings. Each of those last nine meetings has been decided by seven points or less. In fact, all but one of the last 12 meetings have been decided by less than 10 points.
The road team hasn't won in this series since 2013-14 when Carson-Newman won at Catawba in overtime 62-60. Carson-Newman hasn't dropped a home game to Catawba since Jan. 29, 2011, 85-75 to the Indians. In spite of winning six straight at home against Catawba, the Eagles average margin of victory against the Indians is only five points. Half of those, meetings and three of the last four have only been decided by a possession.
Meanwhile, the Indians have struggled in spite of being picked fourth in the South Atlantic Conference's preseason poll. They along with Mars Hill are the only two teams in the league without a conference win.
The Indians are winless in SAC play thanks in large part to injuries. Preseason first team All-SAC selection Jameel Taylor has only played in four games while second team pick Jerrin Morrison has also missed time due to injury. In fact, 11 different players have started games for the Indians.
In spite of the absences of the two studs at times, they are still Catawba's two leading scorers. Morrison averages 21.1 points per game, second most in the league behind Clark, the conference's top scorer.
Taylor chips in 17.3 per game but he hasn't seen the floor since Catawba's 76-67 loss at Anderson on Dec. 16.
The Indians have lost three straight and six of their last seven. The lone victory in that span was a 76-73 overtime triumph against Saint Augustine's on Dec. 12.
Morrison exploded for 37 points in that game.
Tipoff between the Eagles and Indians 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.