VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Parker Role' Interview
VIDEO: Malik Abraham Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (6-3) used a 16-0 run spanning the halftime break to crank open a rout of Fort Valley State (2-9) Saturday afternoon at Holt Fieldhouse.
The win puts a halt to a three-game losing streak for the Eagles while ending a two-game winning streak for the Wildcats.
The game started with Fort Valley State flipping the script on its modus operandi to this point in the season. FVSU was 300th out of 305 Division II teams in both three pointers made and three-point percentage on the year.
However, the Wildcats knocked down 8-of-13 first half threes and led for much of the first half. Those would have been season highs for FVSU if the game had ended then and there.
"We were just so stunned by what they were doing," head coach Chuck Benson said. "The shots they were making were absurd. The credit had to go to them. There was a small seam of opportunity before the half where we were able to generate some transition baskets and pound the ball inside. That helped us get some momentum."
.@granteichmann_ is in a rhythm! 3-4 on those 3-pointers as of now say what ���� ����— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) December 8, 2018
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In spite of FVSU shooting 50 percent from the field and 62 percent from the field in the first half, the Wildcats still trailed at the halftime break. Fort Valley State was up 43-39 with 1:55 to play in the first half after Jaylon McMillan buried his sixth three of the opening stanza.
Then, the Eagles' struck. Parker Role' (Atlanta, Ga.) got an and-one layup. Grant Teichmann (Brentwood, Tenn.) buried a three and Role' dunked the ball off a feed from Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.) with a second left in the half to put Carson-Newman up four.
The Eagles would keep the good times rolling in the second half. C-N scored the first five out of the locker room to push the advantage to 12, 55-43, two minutes into the second half. Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) started the party in the second half with a three. Reese Anderson (Douglasville, Ga.) got fouled for an and-one opportunity and Teichmann used his old-man game to glide to the cup on the fast break to give Carson-Newman the lead by a dozen.
Meanwhile, the Eagles switched from their typically ever-present zone to a variety of man-to-man defense and box-and-one to thwart the Wildcats. FVSU only shot 30 percent from the field after halftime and went 2-for-9 from three. Carson-Newman doubled up the Wildcats 48-24 after halftime.
"It's quite obvious that trends mean nothing when you're playing Carson-Newman," C-N head coach Chuck Benson said. "People have been obliterating whatever they're current trends have been against us. They did things offensively that were very unexpected, and that's an understatement. We adjusted though. That helped cool them down and ice them down as the game went on.
"We had to change it up. Credit our guys for rolling with it. However, it's disappointing on some level, because that team forced us to change things up and do something that we wouldn't normally do."
The triumvirate of Teichmann, Role' and Abraham paced Carson-Newman. The trio combined for 61 points.
Teichmann led the way with a team-high 22 points. He was 8-for-14 from the floor and 6-for-10 from long range. The six made threes match a career high. He also knocked down that many against Tennessee Wesleyan. Carson-Newman is 4-0 this year when Teichmann tops 20.
Abraham reset his season high with 18 points. He buried 6-of-13 threes.
Finally, Role' had a career night. He scored 21 points, a new career high, on six-of-six shooting, also a career high. To go along with those numbers, he knocked down 9-of-12 free throws, both career marks. Role' also chipped in seven rebounds. He matched Josh Murray's single-game record for dunks with four.
"Parker is a guy that when his confidence is right, everything is right," Benson said. "He started off strong and it snowballed and intensified. We needed him to play well. He delivered big time. It sends us into the last few games before the break on a high note for him."
Bates and Anderson added in 13 and 10, respectively.
The Eagles forced a season-high 18 turnovers and converted them into 29 points. C-N outscored the Wildcats by 15 in points off turnovers. That led to a bevy of transition buckets. The Eagles had 18 fast break points to two for the Wildcats.
.@reeceand5 has 3️⃣ steals so far and is into double figures scoring!— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) December 8, 2018
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"We know that if we intensified our pressure on the ball, they might turn it over a little bit," Benson said. "A lot of credit goes to our players. Once we started running our man-to-man stuff, they started turning it over."
Carson-Newman shot 57 percent from the field in the second half and finished shooting 52 percent for the game. The Eagles matched a season high with 14 made threes.
Jaylon McMillan led FVSU with 27, but the Eagles clamped down on him in the second half. McMillan had 22 points at halftime. He started 6-of-7 from three before missing his final six shots from long range. He only scored five points after halftime to finish with a game-high 27. He was just 2-for-8 from the field after halftime. K'Viontae Williams and D'Angelo Strickland added in 12 and 10, respectively.
Carson-Newman takes a week off for finals before jumping back into SAC play Saturday at Coker. Tipoff from the DeLoach Center is set for 4 p.m. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 3:45 p.m. with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.