Pioneers puncture C-N’s recent dominance in 64-55 win

VIDEO: Mike Mincey

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Tusculum snapped a five-game losing streak in the all-time series Wednesday night at Holt Fieldhouse with a 64-55 victory over Carson-Newman winning for just the fourth time in 20 tries since 1996-97 at Mossy Creek.

The last win for Tusculum (12-10, 10-9 South Atlantic Conference) in the series came on Feb. 6, 2013 at Holt Fieldhouse and the Pioneers have now won three of the last six times at Holt Fieldhouse after being victorious just once in the previous 14 meetings.

"We just didn't make shots," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "To shoot as well as we have in the past, to come in our home gym against a zone and shoot three's as wide open as we were, we don't deserve to win. If you told me that we would shoot six of 31 against a zone shooting open shots I would have said there was no way. We are just not making shots right now."

Carson-Newman (16-9, 10-9 SAC) started the game making just one of its first eight shots to fall behind 10-2. After the Pioneers went ahead 12-5, the Lady Eagles closed the opening 10 minutes on a 10-0 run in the final 2:38 to take a 15-12 lead.

Neither team scored more than three consecutive points in the second quarter as the two sides went into the locker room tied at 28. It is the fourth straight loss for Carson-Newman when tied at halftime as the last win for C-N came on Feb. 26, 2011 of 74-65 over Anderson (S.C.)

Both teams shot under 40 percent in the first half as Shynese Whitener was the lone player to score in double figures with 10 points on 3 of 5 shooting. 20 of Carson-Newman's 28 points were scored by the bench as freshman guard Ashton Wykle (Greeneville, Tenn.) led the way with nine points and three steals.

The Lady Eagles took a four-point lead at 34-30 then went on a three minute scoring drought that saw the Pioneers go on a 7-0 run to take a 37-34 advantage with 6:09 to play in the third quarter. Another scoring drought followed a bucket that lasted nearly five minutes to see the Pioneers score 17 of 19 points during the sequence and stretch the advantage to 47-36 before a three-pointer from senior guard Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.) closed out the quarter as C-N was down 47-39.

Carson-Newman closed the deficit to three points at 50-47 before going on a 3:40 scoring drought that saw Tusculum reel off five points. A three-pointer by Burstrom with 47 seconds to play made it 58-55 but the Lady Eagles never scored against as the Pioneers made all six foul shots down the stretch.

Burstrom set a school-record for three-pointers attempted in a game with 16 as she scored 14 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists. The senior was the lone player on the home side to score in double figures as both Kaitlyn Cupples (Clinton, Tenn.) and Taylor Peterson (Mount Juliet, Tenn.) had six points and seven rebounds.

The Lady Eagles shot 28.6 percent, their second-lowest this year while going just 5-for-24 from the floor in the final 10 minutes of the game. C-N attempted 31 three-pointers, the most in a game since firing up 33 on Jan. 14, 2015 at Brevard in a 77-76 overtime loss.

Whitener finished with a game-high 22 points going 12-for-12 at the free-throw line. Kasey Johnson finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Maelyn Head had 12 points and eight rebounds and Sydney Wilson tallied 11 points. Kristen McMillion scored just one point but had 11 rebounds.

Carson-Newman will celebrate its four seniors Saturday afternoon in the final home game of the 2015-16 regular season when Wingate comes to town for a 2 p.m. start. The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off begins the broadcast coverage at 5:45 p.m. on 106.3 WPFT-FM and courtesy of the Eagle Sports Network.

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