JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - Carson-Newman (13-13, 6-12 SAC) can for all intents and purposes lock up the final spot in the South Atlantic Conference tournament when it resumes its rained out game with Mars Hill (9-16, 3-14 SAC) from Feb. 6. Mars Hill will be inbounding the ball with 13:04 to play in the second half, trailing the Eagles 56-44.
The resumption of the game is set for 7 p.m. Monday inside of Holt Fieldhouse.
A rash of heavy thunderstorms and rain overwhelmed the drainage systems on Holt Fieldhouse's roof, causing moisture to drip and puddle onto the playing surface along one of the baselines in the venerated 61-year-old facility back on Feb. 6, necessitating the halt in play three weeks ago.
Carson-Newman has a two-game lead on ninth-place Newberry in the league standings. Even if Carson-Newman were to lose to Mars Hill and Newberry to close the season, the Eagles would own the tiebreaker on the Wolves by virtue of 79-75 win over second-place Lincoln Memorial. Mars Hill is 2.5 games back of C-N. The Lions could catch C-N and pass the Eagles in the standings if the Eagles lose out and the Lions win out. Mars Hill would have a sweep of C-N in hand to earn the tiebreaker and the final spot in the standings. However, that would also mean that the Lions beet No. 10 Queens in the regular season finale.
The Eagles can make that a moot point if they handle business Monday evening.
Three weeks ago, the Eagles bounded out to a 22-point halftime lead, C-N's second largest halftime margin of the season before Mars Hill started to make some inroads into the deficit by the time an uncommon deluge of rain and a leaky roof halted play.
C-N used a 22-4 run in the first half to build its bulge. After Mars Hill cut a C-N lead down to two, 13-11, with 13:31 to play in the opening stanza, C-N exploded. Malik Abraham (Snellville, Ga.) hit successive threes, then Nick Rogers(Knoxville, Tenn.) drilled another long-range jumper to turn C-N's two-point advantage into a double-digit edge in a matter of 1:22.
The lead peaked at 22 at the break when Grant Teichmann (Brentwood, Tenn.) scooped in a layup with 44 seconds left in the half.
However, it was Mars Hill who dominated the early portion of the second half. The Lions scored the first 11 of the second half thanks to some shoddy ball control from C-N. The Eagles turned it over four times in the first 2:36 of the period. Javonte Cook turned in a pair of fast break buckets off steals, while Ja'Shawn Brooks flipped one in as well.
C-N stretched the lead back to 17, 53-36, with 15:36 to play on a Bates lay-in before the Lions scored eight straight to get the lead down to single digits on back-to-back Brooks threes from the head of the key.
Teichmann had the final salvo from C-N before the rains came with a corner three.
Brooks leads all scorers with 19 points, including 12 in the second half. Bates has 12 to pace the Eagles. Abraham, Teichmann and Parker Role' (Atlanta, Ga.) all have eight.
The conclusion of the game will be broadcast on the Eagle Sports Network online only at cneagles.com/live.