Turnovers, slow start undo Eagles at Catawba

VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview

VIDEO: Mason Bates Interview

SALISBURY, N.C. – Carson-Newman (13-11, 6-10 South Atlantic Conference) turned it over a season-high  21 times and Catawba (19-5, 12-4 SAC) used a big first half run to collect a 90-75 win over the Eagles Saturday in Goodman Gym. 

The win gives Catawba a sweep in the season series for the first time since the 2010-2011 season. 

Not only did the Eagles' giveaways lessen Carson-Newman's possessions, Catawba also turned them into points frequently.  The Indians scored 32 points off C-N's turnovers, the most C-N has allowed in a single game in the last seven

"I would have liked to have thought that some of the things we saw today had already been resolved," head coach Chuck Benson said. "I felt like we really lost poise the first half.  It was demonstrated by the fact that we tried to play one-on-one basketball, instead of playing a good team brand of basketball. We didn't trust each other to help create, on the defensive end, we didn't assist one another." 

Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.) and Grant Teichmann combined for 21 of Carson-Newman's 27 first half points.  The rest of the Eagles were collectively 2-for-16 from the field in the frame. 

Catawba built an early 13-point lead as Carson-Newman struggled from the field to start the game. C-N only made two shots in its first 10 attempts from the field.

However, Carson-Newman got things settled down and trimmed the deficit to five, 26-21 with 6:28 to play in the first half on a Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.) three.  However, that's when Catawba exploded. The Indians rattled off a 17-3 run in a mere 3:30, turning that five point advantage into a 20-point lead off a pair of DJ Johnson free throws at 43-23 with 2:40 to play in the opening half.

In that span, the Eagles didn't hit a shot and turned the ball over three times leading directly to six Catawba points. 

Carson-Newman only shot 31 percent from the field in the first half, compared to a 48.6 percent effort for the Indians. 

Things didn't go much better for the first part of the second half.  Catawba used an 11-0 run to stretch the lead out to 31 before C-N made things more respectable with a 28-6 scoring spurt that ultimately goes into  the category of being too little and too late. 

"Catawba has a really nice thing going," Benson said. "They have shot-making.  They have elite rebounding. They have depth. They have toughness and physicality.  They are a great team this year, and today, they were just better than us.  I thought our kids fought.  It was just too much to overcome what we faced today."

Marcell Haskett paced Catawba with 25 points.  He was held scoreless in the first meeting this year.  Haskett went 7-for-12 from the field and 4-for-8 from range.  He was one of five Inddians in double figures.

Jordan McElveen added in 16 points and eight rebounds.  He knocked down seven of his nine shots.

Jameel Taylor, Malik Constantine and Devin Cooper rounded out Catawba's double-digit scorers with 14, 12 and 10, respectively. 

Teichmann led Carson-Newman with 22.  Bates added in 14 in just 19 foul and injury-riddled minutes. 

Nick Rogers (Knoxville, Tenn.) came off the bench to spark 14 points, including 12 in the second half.

Carson-Newman returns home Wednesday for a rivalry matchup with Tusculum.  Tipoff with the Pioneers is set for 8 p.m.  Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 7:45 with the AEC Countdown