VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Malik Abraham Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Wingate (11-8, 7-4 South Atlantic Conference) guard Emarius Logan knocked down a 15-foot runner from the free-throw line after splitting a double-double team with 0.6 seconds left to down Carson-Newman (10-9, 3-8 SAC) Saturday afternoon at Holt Fieldhouse.
The win gets Wingate the season sweep of Carson-Newman and hands the Eagles their first last-second loss since Myson Jones drilled a 17-foot two for Anderson to get the Trojans an 83-81 win over the Eagles on Jan. 24, 2013.
Carson-Newman looked poised to either win the game or head to overtime. The Eagles trailed 74-72 with 52 seconds left. C-N threw it down low to Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.), who tied it up with 43 seconds to play.
Marco Haskins missed a turnaround jumper for the Bulldogs on their ensuing possession; Grant Teichmann (Brentwood, Tenn.) grabbed the rebound and the Eagles moved the ball up the floor.
However, Blake Ervin (Maryville, Tenn.) walked after taking a pass in the left corner to set up Logan's heroics.
"I thought both teams competed," head coach Chuck Benson said. "But I thought we put ourselves in a position to win the game. We get a stop with less than 15 seconds left, we go the length of the floor, we're in the bonus and we turn the ball over. We got what we deserved, literally.
"There were 52 seconds left, I told the guys in the huddle that we were going to go two-for-one. We couldn't have had it any better. We scored it, we got the stop. Then we turned the ball over. Basketball can be a game of mistakes, and you hope that you don't make a mistake at the wrong time. Tonight, we made a really significant mistake at the wrong time."
The last-second winner overshadowed a prolific comeback for the Eagles. C-N fell into an early 20-3 hole five minutes in. The Bulldogs buried seven of their first nine shots, while the Eagles went 1-for-8 from the floor.
Yet, Carson-Newman wouldn't roll over. The Eagles outscored Wingate 38-21 over the remainder of the half to head into the halftime locker room deadlocked at 41.
"Our guys were positive in the huddle," Benson said. "They encouraged one another, they were poised and they believed in one another. That peer encouragement allowed our guys to settle in. I don't think we were flat. But it showed some great resiliency and determination to avoid letting that start snowball."
The teams swapped leads four time and were tied four times after halftime. Neither side led by more than four the final 20 minutes of the game.
Had the Eagles completed the comeback, it would have gone down as the fourth biggest deficit overcome in school history.
The loss obfuscated a couple career nights for C-N. Brendan Coleman (Johnson City, Tenn.) turned in a new career high for points and his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Ervin tallied his first career double-digit scoring effort with 11 points. He was a flawless 3-for-3 from long range.
"We knew it was going to be a challenge," Benson said. "Brendan and Blake responded. Despite our slow start, I thought things were coming together. I was hoping those guys could be big time catalysts for the win. Unfortunately, we couldn't finish it out."
Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) led Carson-Newman with 17 points. He was a marksman, going 5-for-9 from range.
Parker Role' (Atlanta, Ga.) added in 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting.
The game marked the first all year that neither Teichmann nor Bates scored in double figures. Bates had nine while Teichmann struggled to find his stroke. He had a season low two points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field and an 0-for-6 effort from three.
Haskins led Wingate with 21. He was 5-for-9 from long distance. Frankie Johnson added in 17 points and seven assists. Johnson made 5-of-10 threes. Finally, Logan gave the Bulldogs a third double-digit scorer with 11, the final two of those the most critical of the contest.
Carson-Newman wraps up a four-game home stand Wednesday against arch-rival LMU. Tipoff with the Railsplitters is set for 8 p.m. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 7:45 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on The Mountain 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.