JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (17-4, 9-4 South Atlantic Conference) looks to put a bow on the month of January when Anderson (7-13, 5-7 SAC) pays a visit to Holt Fieldhouse Wednesday evening at 8 p.m.
Charles Clark needs 21 points to move into second place all-time in scoring in South Atlantic Conference history. Clark enters the game with 2,135 career points. Catawba's Antonio Houston has 2,156 career points.
Clark is 189 points away from the league's all-time record holder, Sean Barnette of Wingate. Clark can take over the top spot before the SAC tournament if he averages 27 points per game. A 23.75 point per game average would net Clark the record in the SAC tournament quarterfinals.
Carson-Newman is looking to win a sixth consecutive game against the Trojans. Neither Carson-Newman nor the Trojans has won more than five straight games in the series' 18-game history.
"The first time we played them, it was obvious that their confidence was shaken," Benson said. "It wasn't a matter of them having talent, they have that. It wasn't a matter of them lacking experience, they have that. It wasn't their scheme, they've got a good scheme. It just came down to confidence. That's not the case now. They come in here feeling good about themselves. We know based on our previous experiences with Anderson that it'll be a tough challenge no matter where you play them."
To notch that sixth straight win over AU, the Eagles will look to slow down Randall Shaw. Since missing three games directly following the holiday break, Anderson's Randall Shaw hasn't been like his normal self. Shaw, who has dueled with Clark the past two years for the league's scoring title, has been averaging 11.25 points per game since returning.
He's coming off five and two-point efforts in Anderson's last two games, a win over Lenoir-Rhyne and a road loss to Queens. Yet, the Trojans are 3-1 since his return.
"He's got it all," Benson said. "He's got good size and is athletic. He can shoot the three off the catch or the dribble. He can attack the rim. He can make free throws. The only thing he really doesn't look to do is post up. He has no real weakness offensively and has proven that if he gets hot, he can go for 25-30 on any given night."
The Eagles limited Shaw to nine points in the first meeting this season, an 81-65 win for the Eagles at the Abney Center. Shaw went 1-for-7 from three point land and 3-for-12 from the field. At the time he was averaging 20 points per game and had scored double figures in the first eight games of the season before C-N limited him to single digits.
While Shaw's scoring load has suffered since his injury, Jeremy Bouton has stepped up. He's averaging 14.3 points per game in conference play and knocking down 45 percent of his threes. Bouton has strung together five straight double-digit scoring efforts, including a 20-point game against Queens on Saturday.
"He's using his experience to impact his play," Benson said. "It's definitely not just the Randall Shaw show. They have multiple guys who can hurt you on the offensive end. We have to have a focused approach to know who's who and impact them in a way defensively."
Still, Shaw is highly important to the Trojans quotient to get a victory. Anderson went 0-4 through the holidays without Shaw in the lineup. Since his return, Anderson is 3-1, with the lone loss coming against Queens when Shaw suited up for five foul-plagued minutes.
The Trojans are 3-7 away from the Abney Center this year. The Trojans average 69 points on the road and 76 points at home. The Trojans efficiency numbers are identical home versus road. Anderson turns it over three more times a game on the road than it does at home.
Since Lincoln Memorial limited Carson-Newman to a season-low 33 percent from the field, the Eagles have responded with three straight games shooting at least 55 percent, including two above 60.
Tipoff between the Eagles and Trojans is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday evening. Coverage of the game begins at 7:45 on the Eagles Sports Network with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WFPT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.