HICKORY, N.C. — The Carson-Newman Eagles men’s basketball team suffered their first loss of the season, falling to Lenoir-Rhyne 69-57 on Saturday.
The loss ends Carson-Newman’s five-game winning streak to begin the regular season, Carson-Newman’s best start since the 1998-99 campaign.
Junior Antoine Davis led Carson-Newman (5-1, 1-1 SAC) with 19 points, as he shot 50 percent from the field (7-14) and from behind the arc (3-6). Davis was joined in double figures by junior Ish Sanders with his 15 points and a team-high four 3-pointers.
The Eagles got off to a slow start offensively, as the Bears began the contest with a 10-2 run. The Eagles shot 40 percent as a team (8-20) in the first half, including a 2-of-7 mark from three-point land. Carson-Newman trailed Lenoir-Rhyne at halftime 38-25.
The Bears (5-1, 1-1) quickly built on their lead to begin the second half. Lenoir-Rhyne went on a 16-6 run beginning the period to gain a 54-31 lead with 15:19 left in the game. Denzel Dillingham’s three-pointer that gave the Bears a 54-31 lead would mark the largest for lead for Lenoir-Rhyne in the contest of 23 points.
Trailing by 20 points with 10 minutes left to play, the Eagles began to rally back. Carson-Newman went on a 13-3 run, capped by a Sanders’ three-pointer to cut Lenoir-Rhyne’s lead to 10 at 59-49 with 7:44 left.
The Eagles would twice cut Lenoir-Rhyne’s lead to seven points in the final six and a half minutes, yet the Bears held on for the 12-point victory.
Carson-Newman committed a seasonhigh 22 turnovers, with the previous high 19 against Knoxville College on Nov. 17. This is one of the few times when the Eagles have had more turnovers than assists, as Carson-Newman had 15 assists along with the 22 turnovers. The Eagles shot 57 percent at the free-throw line, which is a season-low.
Junior Cody Henegar led Carson-Newman with seven rebounds, and the Eagles out-rebounded the Bears 37-28.
The Eagles will next play on Thursday, Dec. 13 against Hiwassee in Madisonville. Carson-Newman defeated Hiwassee 93-60 earlier this season in Jefferson City. Fans can listen to the contest on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network beginning at 6:45 p.m. with the Farm Bureau Countdown to Tipoff on 106.3 ESPN Radio The Zone.