JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (13-10, 6-9 South Atlantic Conference) takes on the hottest team in the Southeast Region when it takes the floor Saturday afternoon.
Catawba College (18-5, 11-4 SAC) has won five straight, the Southeast Region's longest winning streak, and carry that streak into the teams' contest at Goodman Gym Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Indians have put together the win streak in highly efficient fashion too. The Indians have scored at least 80 in their last four games while firing away at least a 52 percent clip from the field in each of the last four games.
"You have to try to disrupt their rhythm and flow, which is easier said than done against a team the caliber of Catawba," head coach Chuck Benson said with a chuckle. "When a team is surging like that, it can only last for so long. Hopefully they'll be trending down by the time we get over there. But, that's not something we can control. We have to go in with a determination defensively and keep game pressure on by making shots ourselves."
Queens and UNC Pemrboke are the only two teams to defeat the Indians inside Goodman Gym this year. Catawba averages 94.4 points per game at home this year on 50 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent shooting from the three.
Jameel Taylor has been on an efficient three-game tear for the Indians. The star senior guard is 22-for-35 from the field (63 percent). He has knocked down 6-of-10 threes in that stretch and is averaging 17.3 points per game.
Catawba is trying to do something it hasn't done to Carson-Newman since the 2010-11 season - sweep a season series from the Eagles. The Indians won 81-62 and 85-75 that year.
Catawba won the first meeting this year 81-64. Taylor made the first three threes he took and Catawba jumped out a 28-6 advantage and never looked back in throttling the Eagles. The Indians knocked down 12 threes that day, the second most the Indians have hit in a single game this year.
Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) has caught fire over these last eight contests for Carson-Newman. The senior sharpshooter has knocked down 5.0 threes per game over that stretch while shooting from range at a 43.3 percent clip. Abraham has 241 career threes. Abraham needs to hit 28 more triples to catch former teammate Charles Clark (259) for second all-time in program history.
"His confidence and comfortability are both high," Benson said. "Whenever you see the ball go through the basket like he has been lately, it just motivates you to do more. He's one of several guys that we need to step up and step up early."
Tipoff between the Eagles and Indians is set for 4 p.m. Saturday. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network begins at 3:45 p.m. with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on The Mountain 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.