JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The team atop the table in the South Atlantic Conference standings, fifth-ranked Carson-Newman, pays a visit to the team looking up on the rest of the schools, Mars Hill, Wednesday evening for a 6 p.m. tip-off at Stanford Arena.
"Typically Mars Hill has been a tough place to play," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "You are going on the road. You have to bring your own energy and your own environment. You can go back and look at the first semester but we are a different team. They are a different team. It's a conference game. We are going to go over there and fight them as hard as we fight anyone else."
Road games had been a source of stress for Mincey's team since taking over as the club entered the year 38-39 in true road games in his tenure including a 30-32 mark in SAC games. In 2017-18, Carson-Newman (18-1, 10-1) is 7-1 away from home having already guaranteed a winning record as the team had done so in just three of the last six seasons.
The Lady Eagles have produced four games with at least 90 points on the road this year compared to just two efforts, both in 2016-17, in the first six years of Mincey's tenure. While the team's offense takes a hit on the road, C-N is scoring 81 points per game on the road this year which would be four points better than the next highest SAC's school's overall offensive output for the year.
Wednesday night is the 67th all-time meeting between the two schools as C-N holds a 48-18 over Mars Hill (1-18, 0-11) including wins in 10 of the last 11. The lone blemish in that span came at Stanford Arena on Feb. 3, 2016, an 83-82 comeback win for the Lions.
The first time the two squads tangled this season, the Lady Eagles buried the Lions early with a 69-27 lead at halftime before cruising to a 118-55 win. C-N group collected 63 rebounds in the 63-point win on Nov. 29. It was the highest rebound total in 1,798 days or 147 games when the group piled up 62 against Brevard on Nov. 28, 2012.
Six Eagles produced double-digit scoring efforts as Haris Price tossed in 20 points on eight of 11 shooting from the field. Kayla Marosites added a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. Addison Byrd racked up a career-high 13 points and five caroms and Tori Griffin had 11 points and a career-high eight rebounds.
No Lion finished in double figures as Baylea Loven led the way with nine points. Mars Hill shot 31 percent from the field and turned the ball over 22 times.
Mars Hill has lost 17 straight games since its last victory, a 66-60 neutral court triumph over Converse on Nov. 11. It is the sixth-longest losing streak in the nation.
At home, the Lions have dropped nine straight contests since last defending Stanford Arena on Feb. 11, 2017 against Queens (N.C.) winning 66-59. Ohio Valley (15) and Lake Superior State (13) are the only two schools out of 314 Division II programs that have longer skids inside of the friendly confines.
Coach Jenny Finora's group has lost 12 straight SAC contests with the last win coming at Tusculum on Feb. 22, 2017 winning by a point, 69-68, at Pioneer Arena. With 11 games remaining on the league docket, Mars Hill is trying to avoid becoming the fourth SAC program to record a winless league slate as it has happened a total of seven times. Newberry failed to win a game three times (1998-99, 2001-02 and 2002-03). Brevard is the most recent team going 0-22 in 2015-16 after posting a 0-16 mark in 2008-09. Lenoir-Rhyne went 0-14 in 1992-93 and 1993-94.
No team in the country yields more points than the Lions who are allowing 85.8 points per game leading to the worst scoring margin nationally at minus-26.6. Finora's bunch has recorded 12 losses on the year by at least 20 points having lost by 40 or more five times. The largest differential came on Jan. 10 at Anderson when the Trojans won by 67 points, 109-42. It is one of three occasions with a 60-point margin.
Mars Hill is among the worst teams in the nation in nearly every category but the team gets to the free-throw line at the third-most frequency and shoots the ball at the second-highest percentage, 74, in the SAC.
Wednesday's affair can be enjoyed on two platforms. Radio coverage can be found on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) with an audio stream available on cneagles.com/live starting at 5:45 p.m. with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off".
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