VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Charles Clark Interview
VIDEO: Grant Teichmann Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Senior guard Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) climbed into a wooden horse, emerged behind the fortifications of a city and dropped his fourth career triple-double on Anderson's Trojans (7-14, 5-8 South Atlantic Conference) to guide Carson-Newman (18-4, 10-4 SAC) to a 112-81 pummeling of the Trojans Wednesday night in Holt Fieldhouse.
Clark scored 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists to match Lenoir-Rhyne's Keenan Palmore for the most triple-doubles in a career in South Atlantic Conference history.
"It seemed like he was having a stat-sheet stuffing kind of game," head coach Chuck Benson said. "I'm just glad he got it. We had been talking about and how his time at Carson-Newman was coming short. He just wants to maximize every opportunity he gets to play in here. He brought it, and so did other guys. This was a very nice win over an Anderson team that is playing much better than when we first played them."
Clark became the first men's basketball player in Carson-Newman history when he went for 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a win over Lenoir-Rhyne on Feb. 11, 2017. Clark's triple-double against Anderson is the lowest scoring of his four. His fourth triple-double means he has more triple-doubles than any other active player in NCAA basketball. Chandler Vaudrin of Walsh had tied Clark with three this year.
"This one I actually knew about in the middle of the game," Clark said. "About halfway through the second half, they told me I had a couple rebounds and assists to go. I'm just glad that we came out and put together a strong second half after we came out flat in the first."
Triple-double record don't exist in the NCAA record books for Division II. However, Kyle Collinsworth of BYU holds the Division I record with 12 over the course of a four-year career.
Clark's triple-double came as part of an explosive second half for the Eagles. The Eagles went nuclear with a 68-point explosion – the most points scored in a half by the Eagles since they dropped 72 on Coker in the second half of last year's regular season finale.
"I didn't like where our intensity and sense of urgency was in the first half," Benson said. "I challenge some guys to be leaders, and to put forth a demonstration that would be contagious to others. I felt like the minute we came on the floor in the second half, there was a different vibe. The trigger was we wanted guys to have fun. They had fun in the second half."
Carson-Newman shot 65.9 percent from the field after halftime and knocked down 12-of-22 shots from beyond the arc.
The Eagles trailed by five with six minutes to play in the first half before they went on a 14-0 run to turn the tide and take an eight-point lead, 44-36, into the locker room. Anderson missed 11 straight shots over the final seven minutes of the first half and the first 2:30 of the second half.
Carson-Newman opened the second half with a 20-6 flurry to stretch the lead to 22, 64-42 at the first media timeout of the second stanza. Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) buried a pair of three sandwiched around a Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.) baseline jumper to stretch the lead to that margin.
The Eagles would leave their foot on the accelerator. Carson-Newman smashed out another 14-0 run at the mid-point of the second half. Abraham started and finished the run with a pair of triples.
"Going into the second half, we just had to look in the mirror and step it up," Grant Teichmann said. "Guys took accountability and owned up. Everyone fed off of each other."
The 14-0 run stretched the lead to 34, 86-55 with 8:59 to play. Carson-Newman would go up by as many as 37 – its second largest lead of the season – en route to scoring 112 points, a season high.
Clark led Carson-Newman in every stat category on the night. He also had three steals and a block to go along with his triple-double.
Grant Teichmann (Brentwood, Tenn.) matched his career high with a second consecutive 17-point effort. Teichmann was white hot too. He knocked down 6-of-10 shots from the field and reset his career best for threes made with a 4-of-7 tally from long range. He also dropped nine dimes.
"I was happy for Grant," Benson said. "He dad and brother were in the building. I was glad that he was able to demonstrate that level of performance with some family in the gym."
Between Clark and Teichmann, the duo combined for 19 assists and a 9.5:1 assist, to turnover ratio between the two of them.
The Eagles finished with six double-digit scorers for a third time this season. Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.) had 13 points. Cameron Holmes (Fort Mill, S.C) and Abraham each finished with 12. All of Abraham's scoring came in the second half.
Parker Role' ran his string of consecutive shots taken without a miss to nine. He was 4-for-4 from the floor and had 10 points.
Both Role' and Holmes put together back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts for the first times in their careers.
"We need that," Benson said. "We need that consistency. Consistency leads to wins. Cam and Parker controlled their controllables tonight. They were critical pieces in this win tonight."
While the Eagles' offense hummed, Carson-Newman's defense clicked as well. Anderson shot 34 percent from the field for the game's first 30 minutes before knocking down some shots late after the Eagles had gotten up by 30 to finish with a 41.3 percent average from the field and a 36.4 average from three.
"I thought we got distance separation from them early in the second half," Benson said. "Once the game pressure got off, they were able to hoop a little bit and distort the percentages. Overall, I was pleased with our combination of defense with scoring punch in the final 20 minutes."
Carson-Newman limited the Trojans leading scorer Randall Shaw to an off night. He finished with 14 points, but was 2-for-13 from the field and 2-for-9 from three. Shaw did the bulk of his damage at the stripe, going 8-for-9 at the free throw line.
Carson-Newman handed out 29 assists, the eighth time this season the Eagles have passed the 20-assist threshold and the fifth time they've gone past 25.
Carson-Newman hits the road Saturday for a 4 p.m. tipoff at Lenoir-Rhyne. Coverage of the game on the Eagle Sports Network begins at 3:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WFPT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com//live.