VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
VIDEO: Grant Teichmann Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 9/10 Queens (25-3, 17-1 South Atlantic Conference) rattled off a 12-0 run spanning the halftime break and drilled 14 threes to withstand an early Carson-Newman (13-13, 6-12 SAC) surge Saturday afternoon at Holt Fieldhouse.
The Royals prevailed for a ninth straight time over the Eagles 102-88.
"I liked our competitiveness," head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson said. "The fight was apparent, and that is the expectation everytime we take the court. We've struggled at times to have that intensity, but today, it was off the charts. I appreciate guys for fighting like that, I just wish the outcome had been different. That intensity and competitiveness will lead to more wins than it will losses. I hope we can bottle that up."
The win got Queens its first outright South Atlantic Conference regular season title. The Royals shared a title last year with Lincoln Memorial.
If not for foul trouble, every Carson-Newman senior would have more than likely hit double figures in their final game in Holt Fieldhouse.
Grant Teichmann (Brentwood, Tenn.) paced Carson-Newman with 15 points. Senior Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.) added in 14, while Parker Role' (Atlanta, Ga.) finished with 10. Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) sat for much of the first half in foul trouble and finished with nine points.
Cam Holmes (Fort Mill, S.C.) tallied a season-high 13 points and six rebounds, while Reece Anderson (Douglasville, GA.) added in 11 points, all in the first half.
"Credit goes to Queens, they were incredibly aggressive and put us in foul trouble," Benson said. "Cam Holmes played at a level that we expect from him as a junior. I told him after the game that that was what we anticipate from him, and is something that can add great value to this team. Hopefully, he'll gain some confidence from that."
The Eagles built an early nine-point lead on the back of torrid shooting. C-N started 13-of-19 from the floor and built a 32-23 lead off a Nick Rogers (Knoxville, Tenn.) short corner jumper with 9:51 to play in the first half.
Queens countered with a 16-2 run and grabbed a 39-34 lead just four minutes later after five straight points from Blake Morrow.
The Eagles see-sawed back to tie the game at 49 with 1:42 to play off a Teichmann three, but the Royals closed the half on an 8-0 run, headlined by a corner three from Shaun Willett and an and-one from Jermaine Patterson.
C-N cut the deficit to five in the second half before the Royals responded with an 11-2 run to stretch it back to double-digits. Morrow again keyed the surge with the final five points on the spurt. He hit his fourth three of the game and hit a floater in the middle of the paint.
The Royals would lead by double-digits the rest of the way.
Morrow was the top thorn in the Eagles' side. The Eckerd transfer went for a season-high 21 to pace Queens. He knocked down 4-of-5 threes and 7-of-11 shots from the field.
Carson-Newman became just the sixth team all year to hold the nation's leader in double-doubles Willlet without one. He still impacted the game with 19 points and eight rebounds.
Lewis Diankulu, Van Turner and Kenny Dye rounded out the Royals double-digit scorers with 16, 14 and 13, respectively.
Queens knocked down 60.7 percent of its shots after halftime and finished shooting 54.5 percent for the game. The Royals were 14-for-26 from long range.
The Eagles knocked down 52 percent of their shots in the first half, but that tapered off after halftime. The Eagles went 30-for-65 for the game (46.2 percent).
Carson-Newman stays at home for a wacky Monday contest with Mars Hill. The Eagles and Lions will resume their Feb. 6 contest that was halted due to a leak in Holt Fieldhouse's roof.
A win by the Eagles would guarantee them a spot in the South Atlantic Conference tournament.
The in-bounds play with 13:04 left in the game is set for 7 p.m. Monday. Coverage will be available on the Eagle Sports Network web only at cneagles.com/live.