VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Charles Clark Interview
VIDEO: Grant Teichmann Interview
VIDEO: Josh Murray Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) became the fifth player in Carson-Newman history to break the 2,000-point barrier for a career as the Eagles (13-2, 5-2 South Atlantic Conference) used a 22-4 run spanning the halftime break to clobber Catawba (3-9, 0-7 SAC) 101-75 Saturday evening inside Holt Fieldhouse.
Clark finished with an efficient and effective 30 points. He as 2,019 for his career. The scoring effort moved him past Carson-Newman's first All-American Chris Jones and into fourth place on the all-time scoring list as well.
"What can you say," head coach Chuck Benson said. "The guy has had an incredible career for us and I expect him to continue to provide incredible performances for us. I'm so happy for him. I know for having done this for 27 years now, you come across a player like Charles Clark about once in a career. He's truly special and I'm just thankful I've had the opportunity to coach him."
The senior guard finished 10-for-15 from the floor and 7-for-11 from long range.
"It's a good individual accomplishment to have, but this is for my teammates, because if they weren't finding me, it wouldn't be possible," Clark said. "I thank them for everything they did this game and everything they've done for me in my career."
Clark got his 2,000th point on a vintage move with 7:55 left in the first half. Clark glided to the left side of the rim on one of his patented left-handed layups that put C-N on an 8-0 run and up by 16 on the Indians, 35-19.
The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native's efforts were part of a witheringly efficient offensive night for the Eagles.
Carson-Newman led wire-to-wire as it knocked down 15 threes on 28 attempts and shot 56.7 percent from the field. The 15 threes are the second most the Eagles have made in a game this season.
"Our guys know historically that Catawba is a tough opponent," Benson said. "Our guys were pumped to play at home for the first time this semester. They went out there and threw some really good hard punches and were motivated to extend it out as the game went along."
The Eagles bounced out to an 11-3 lead in the game's first 3:30 and never led by fewer than five the rest of the way. The bulk of the Eagles' separation came from a 24-4 run spanning the halftime break.
C-N went into the locker room up by 14, 50-36 after Clark buried a triple off the window as the buzzer sounded. The Eagles would then proceed to score 12 of the first 14 points of the second half to build a 25-point lead with 16:49 to play after a fast break bucket by Grant Teichmann (Brentwood, Tenn.) and a pair of free throws from Clark.
Catawba never got the lead under 20 the rest of the way as the Eagles built it out to as many as 29 on a slew of occasions down the stretch.
The 26-point margin of victory bucks a recent trend in the series. Only one of the last 12 meetings in the series had been decided by double figures (a 12-point C-N win in 2013) and the last three games inside of Holt Fieldhouse had been by a combined seven points.
The win is the biggest in the series for either team since Catawba beat Carson-Newman 97-72 in 2005 and is the Eagles' third largest margin of victory in series history.
Aside from Clark's 12th career 30-point game, the Eagles got 20 points from Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) and 15 from Josh Murray (Burlington, N.C.). Abraham was 4-of-8 from long range while Murray, Dmitrii Bykov (Moscow, Russia), Parker Role' (Atlanta, Ga.) and Cam Andre (Kissimmee, Fla.) combined to go 13-for-21 as C-N's big men.
Teichmann flirted with a triple-double for a second game this year with nine points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
"We have so many other weapons," Benson said. "Josh and Dima were so efficient. Malik throws in a quiet 20. Grant flirt's with a triple-double. So many guys add so much value to this team. We're fortunate and blessed to have the roster that we have this year."
Carson-Newman effectively played in transition, posting 21 fast break points to six for the Indians.
The Eagles also dished out 27 assists, Carson-Newman's fifth game this season with at least 20 assists.
"We always stress sharing the ball and the benefit that comes from that," Benson said. "Seeing them do that again tonight always makes you happy. You understand what's going to happen when guys are willing to give the thing up and trust one another."
C-N used its zone to force Catawba into settling for threes. The Indians shot a season-high 30 of them, making nine to finish at 30 percent from beyond the arc.
Catawba knocked down 37 percent of its shots for the day.
Jerrin Morrison led the injury-riddled Indians with 17 points, although he was just 7-for-21 from the field and 2-for-11 from beyond the arc.
C-N hits the road for back-to-back contests starting with a Wednesday night rivalry showdown with Tusculum. Tipoff from Pioneer Arena is set for 8 p.m. Coverage on the Eagle Sports Network begins at 7:45 with the AEC Countdown To Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.