Bates’ layup in final seconds sinks Coker

VIDEO: Highlights

VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview

VIDEO: Mason Bates Interview

VIDEO: Malik Abraham Interview

VIDEO: Parker Role' Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.) became the 27th member of Carson-Newman's 1,000-point club, but it was his 1,007th point that proved to be the most important.

Bates hit a layup with eight seconds left to complete and 11-point comeback and get Carson-Newman (12-10, 5-9 South Atlantic Conference) a 75-73 win over Coker (3-19, 1-14 SAC) Saturday afternoon inside Holt Fieldhouse.

The win gives Carson-Newman its ninth straight over the Cobras, the Eagles' longest active winning streak against a South Atlantic Conference foe. 

The Bates bucket belied a rally by the Cobras. Carson-Newman led by seven, 73-66, with 2:36 to play following a thunderous Parker Role' (Atlanta, Ga.) alley-oop slam off a feed from Grant Teichmann (Brentwood, Tenn.). 

However, the Cobras countered with a 7-0 run aided by a pair of turnovers by Bates.

"It's interesting, because we did it to ourselves there late. Credit Coker, they also made shots," C-N head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson said. "Hopefully, we can learn and grow from these situations.  We're still sort of struggling to really finish things out with a resounding victory.  I don't feel like we squeezed the life out of it tonight."

The Cobras tied the game on and and-one lay-in with 35 seconds left by Ladarius Williams. 

The only set the stage for Bates to deliver in the clutch.

"Coker had been super aggressive late," Bates said. "We ran through the post and I got fronted. I tried to get him as far up the lane as I could.  Blake gave me a great pass.  I caught it, slowed down and just made sure I made it."

Blake Ervin (Maryville, Tenn.) hit Bates on a high-low lob in the middle of the paint. Bates pump faked twice to draw two Coker defenders into the air, then hit a virtually uncontested lay up from point-blank range to get C-N the win. 

"We went small and felt like we had a matchup to our liking," Benson said. "We got the ball to Mason around the basket. We were in the double bonus, and had told Mason in previous timeouts to slow down and show the ball.  That's what he did, and he was able to get a good clean look at it."

Malcolm Kennedy's last-second lay-up for Coker rolled off the front lip of the rim to cement the win for the Eagles.

Carson-Newman made its own furious rally to be in position to win it. The Eagles overcame an 11-point second half deficit, the largest lead that Carson-Newman has come back from this year.  C-N held Coker to a 4-of-18 start from the field in the second half to pave the way to the come-from-behind win. 

C-N rattled off a 20-7 scoring spurt over a 10-minute span that saw the Eagles take their first lead, 53-52, of the day off a Role' fast break and-one lay-up with 10:30 to play. It was a lead Carson-Newman would not relinquish the rest of the way.

Bates became Carson-Newman's 27th, 1,000-point scorer on a hook shot early in the second half.  He finished the day with a team-best 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting. 

"It's always something you strive to do," Bates said. "I've been here five years, so it's probably about time I did it.  It's an awesome feeling, especially to come out with a win and do it."

Role' turned in his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 boards. 

"His dad was in the house, and double-double machine Shaun Jones was in the house," Benson said. "I'd joked with Shaun that we needed some double-doubles.  Maybe Shaun had a talk with Parker.  I thought Parker's timing and determination were both good.  He put himself in a position to get the basketball frequently today."

Ervin and Abraham rounded out the Eagles' double-digit scorers with 12 and 11, respectively. 

Khalil Halls paced Coker with 20 points. He made 4-of-7 shots from long range.

After Coker shot 54 percent from the field in the first half, the Eagles limited Coker to 37 percent shooting after halftime. 

Carson-Newman hits the road Wednesday to take on Anderson in the Abney Center. Tipoff with the Trojans 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