Half of regional field awaits Eagle hoops in 2018-19

VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson has announced the Eagles 2018-19 hoops schedule, which is lined with half the field from last year's Southeast Regional.

Carson-Newman will take on reigning regional finalists Queens and Lincoln Memorial in South Atlantic Conference play as per usual.  The Eagles also have matchups with both King and Lees-McRae within the first two weeks of the season.  The Tornado made last year's tournament as an eight seed, the Bobcats were the seven. 

"We're glad we get to have those kind of competitive matches, especially non-conference, as a way to test and prepare us for conference play," Benson said. "We know between the contests externally, and the fact that we are very much in a redefining season based on what we lost from last season, this will be the toughest deal we've had in some time."

Carson-Newman opens the season for a fourth straight year with a conference challenge.  The Eagles will open the year Nov. 9 at host school Southern Wesleyan before turning around to play Lander in less than 24 hours on Saturday, Nov. 10.  The Eagles have beaten the Warriors the first three times the teams have squared off. 

Meanwhile, Lander took the first meeting between the two teams three years ago.  Carson-Newman has won two straight, including a riveting 82-78 decision over the Bearcats last year. 

"This is year four of that conference challenge," Benson said. "Southern Wesleyan has a first year head coach in Nick Pasqua who comes there from Tusculum. So they certainly will be familiar with us.  Then Lander has been a team that we've gone back and forth with.  That will be a challenge going down to South Carolina."

That sets the table for a pair of early-season matchups with NCAA tournament foes.  Lees-McRae is the first of the two.  The Bobcats are the first foe for the Eagles inside Holt Fieldhouse, making an appearance on Nov. 14.  Lees-McRae makes its first trip to Mossy Creek since Carson-Newman thumped the Bobcats 98-70 on Dec. 2, 2013. 

Three days later, the Eagles return a visit to the King Tornado.  Last year, the Eagles and Tornado resumed a long-standing rivalry that had lay dormant for the better part of a decade.  The game was an instant classic that saw Carson-Newman rally from a 12-point deficit.  Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.) buried a three in the waning seconds to give Carson-Newman the win 92-91. 

"We know they will both be tough," Benson said. "King in particular has one of the best guards in this country.  That week two can make us either real happy or real sad depending what goes on."

Carson-Newman heads into Thanksgiving week with a Wednesday matchup against NAIA foe Tennessee Wesleyan, the alma mater of Carson-Newman baseball coach Tom Griffin and men's soccer coach Stephen Lyons. 

After a week off, the Eagles open up conference play with the difficulty turned to 11. 

Road trips to Lincoln Memorial and Wingate close the month of November and open the month of December to start conference play. 

"That draw of LMU and Wingate right out of the gate and both on the road, that's tough," Benson said. "Maybe November will be the time for us to iron out some question marks.  That November could be one of the toughest Novembers since I've been here just in terms of the quality of the competition and the fact that several of those are on the road."

The Eagles close out the home portion the first semester by Dec. 8 with back-to-back visits to holt by conference foe Lenoir-Rhyne and the program's first ever meeting with Fort Valley State.

"We historically have tried to stay away from any nonconference games once you get to late December and January," Benson said. "It is weird, but that's where we had the open dates.  It makes sense that we play a Fort Valley State, a UVA-Wise and Johnson C. Smith. It's just a little unusual with when we have to play them."

Trips to Coker and Mars Hill close out the first semester.  Highlights from the second half of the year include a four-game home stand from Jan. 19-30 with visits from Newberry, Johnson C. Smith, Wingate and Lincoln Memorial. The Eagles will celebrate senior day against Queens on Feb. 23. 

Carson-Newman has one of its more balanced schedules in recent memories.  In years past the Eagles have either been exceedingly home or road heavy.  This year, Carson-Newman plays 15 games in Holt Fieldhouse, 12 on the road and one at a neutral site. 


Nov. 09, 2018

at Southern Wesleyan

7:30 PM

Nov. 10, 2018

vs. Lander @ Central, S.C.

2:00 PM

Nov. 14, 2018


7:00 PM

Nov. 17, 2018

at King (Tenn.)

4:00 PM

Nov. 21, 2018

Tenn. Wesleyan

6:00 PM

Nov. 28, 2018

at Lincoln Memorial *

8:00 PM

Dec. 01, 2018

at Wingate *

4:00 PM

Dec. 05, 2018

Lenoir-Rhyne *

8:00 PM

Dec. 08, 2018

Fort Valley St.

3:00 PM

Dec. 15, 2018

at Coker *

4:00 PM

Dec. 19, 2018

at Mars Hill *

8:00 PM

Jan. 02, 2019


7:00 PM

Jan. 05, 2019

Catawba *

4:00 PM

Jan. 09, 2019

Anderson (S.C.) *

8:00 PM

Jan. 12, 2019

at Queens (N.C.) *

4:00 PM

Jan. 16, 2019

at Tusculum *

8:00 PM

Jan. 19, 2019

Newberry *

4:00 PM

Jan. 21, 2019

Johnson C. Smith

7:00 PM

Jan. 26, 2019

Wingate *

4:00 PM

Jan. 30, 2019

Lincoln Memorial *

8:00 PM

Feb. 02, 2019

at Lenoir-Rhyne *

4:00 PM

Feb. 06, 2019

Mars Hill *

8:00 PM

Feb. 09, 2019

Coker *

4:00 PM

Feb. 13, 2019

at Anderson (S.C.) *

8:00 PM

Feb. 16, 2019

at Catawba *

4:00 PM

Feb. 20, 2019

Tusculum *

8:00 PM

Feb. 23, 2019

Queens (N.C.) *

4:00 PM

Mar. 02, 2019

at Newberry *

4:00 PM