JEFFERSON CITY — Carson-Newman (7-4, 1-1 SAC) takes to the court for the final time in December for a showdown with regional opponent Queens (4-3), tonight at Holt Fieldhouse. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.
The Eagles have won two straight, while the Royals are victors of four of their last five after losing two in a row to start the season.
Queens is no stranger to SAC competition; the Royals will join the league in the fall of 2013. So far, they are 1-2 against the SAC this season, with losses to Wingate and Lenoir-Rhyne and a win over Tusculum.
“I’m glad we get this kind of challenge before the Christmas break,” Carson-Newman coach Chuck Benson said. “That way our guys can get a feel for where we’re really at.”
The Eagles and Royals haven’t played one another this century. C-N will have to slow down reigning Conference Carolinas player of the Week Antonio Stabler and Brent Evans who average 17 points, six rebounds and 15 points, nine rebounds a game respectively.
“They really want to attack the rim, get to the foul line, get to the offensive glass,” Benson said. “Stabler will bring his A game for sure. But I’m hoping and praying that our guys will have the focus to get the job done.”
Carson-Newman will turn to Ish Sanders for leadership and point production as leading scorer Antoine Davis returns from a foot injury. Sanders sits nine points away from 1,000 in his career.
The Eagles have played exclusively zone defenses this season, but that gives Benson pause against the pain-oriented Royals.
“A lot of times it seems like when we extend our defense, our guys play with a lot of energy and intensity,” Benson said. “We don’t want to lose that. Hopefully our guys don’t lose that depending on whatever strategy we do use.”
Queens has caused havoc defensively, holding opponents to a 0.5 assist to turnover ratio. Carson-Newman is coming off a game with Milligan where it forced 28 turnovers. In fact, over the past two games, C-N is plus 46 in points off turnovers.