VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
Anderson Game Notes
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (8-5, 1-5 South Atlantic Conference) head coach Chuck Benson has indicated that he wants the Eagles ready to roll from the jump when Anderson (8-6, 2-4 SAC) pays a visit to Holt Fieldhouse Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The Eagles have fallen behind by at least 20 points in all of their SAC losses and faced a double-digit deficit at the halftime break in all five of those games as well.
"We definitely have to start strong and fast offensively," head coach Chuck Benson said. "For whatever reasons, we've been a team of two halves offensively. We've been much more comfortable and composed in second halves this year. We'll make some adjustments to give us the best possible chance to do that, then we can't let anything else slip. We've been defending pretty well, so we can't lose that."
The Eagles are minus-23 in first halves of games this year, but have outscored their opposition by 55 after halftime (this includes the Eagles' eight wins). When you factor in losses, Carson-Newman has been outscored 210-125 in the first half of defeats. They've played their foes nearly evenly, 208-205 in second stanzas.
"We've just been too cautious, we've lacked confidence, it's been a variety of things," Benson said. "Some of it you have to credit the opponent. Lenoir-Rhyne and Catawba came in here really determined and motivated to win. We've gotten people's best tests when we're struggling."
Carson-Newman is looking to win a seventh consecutive game against the Trojans. Neither Carson-Newman nor the Trojans has won more than six straight games in the series' 18-game history. The Eagles' current six-game winning streak is C-N's second longest active win streak against a SAC foe (C-N has won eight straight against Coker).
Anderson hasn't won a game inside Holt Fieldhouse since 2011. The Trojans have had their struggles on the road this year.
"We really have to focus our time and attention on us," Benson said. "I've been pleased with what we've been trying to do defensively. Thankfully, we've got a large enough package to do whatever is necessary to win."
AU is 7-1 at home this year, but 1-4 away from the Abney Center. AU averages 10 fewer points away from home this year (84-74). Furthermore, the Trojans shoot 30 percent from three away from home compared to 37 percent at home. The Trojans lone road win this year is an 85-62 triumph at Southern Wesleyan in the second game of the year.
Gage Ellis is the South Atlantic Conference's second leading scorer this year with 20.8 points per game. Ellis has scored in double-digits in every game this season. He topped out at 37 in a 102-101 overtime loss to Lincoln Memorial. He went 21-for-23 at the stripe in that game. He has one other 30-point game to his name this year (32 in a win over Tusculum). Ellis has also turned in five, 20-point performances.
"He's a senior and he's gotten comfortable and confident," Benson said. "Hopefully we can do our job and stymie him to make him a little uncomfortable."
Carson-Newman's Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.) and Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) are both on the 1,000-point watch for their careers at Carson-Newman. Bates sits at 909 career points. Abraham has 875.
Tipoff between the Eagles and Trojans is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network begins at 7:45 p.m. on the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.