NEWBERRY, S.C. — Newberry (10-6, 6-4 South Atlantic Conference) got a combined 47 points from two players while Carson-Newman (6-10, 3-7 SAC) was held to its second lowest shooting percentage of the season in an 80-63 loss to the Wolves at Eleazer Arena Saturday afternoon.
Carson-Newman bottled up the usual suspects for Newberry. Angelo Sales, Marshall Lange and Luke Gibson were combining to average 38 points per game. C-N limited the trio to 17 points. In their stead, TJ Brown and Quandaveon McCollum both went for season highs. \
Brown poured in 26 points, 10 more than his previous season high, on a 9-of-12 clip, including a season-best 5-of-7 effort from three.
Brown had missed 11 straight triples and was shooting 31 percent from three for the season coming into the contest before he went bananas. It was his fourth game this year knocking down multiple threes and his first game with that many attempts made at better than a 33 percent clip.
Meanwhile, McCollum powered his way to a double-double with 19 points and 15 boards, a season high. It was just the second game this season McCollum scored more than 15 points and the third time he’s produced a double-double.
“Our team unraveled when what they perceived to be as failure encroached upon their plans,” Carson-Newman head men’s basketball coach Chuck Benson said. “The entire first half, we executed our scout wonderfully. I was good with how we played defensively. We did what we set out to do. We did not want Gibson, Lange or Sales to get going.
“You have to give credit to McCollum and Brown for exploding. They did what they hadn’t done all season. Unfortunately our response to that was one of implosion and frustration, offensively. The first half was such a shock to them, that despite our efforts to reel them in emotionally and mentally, it was very difficult.”
The Eagles trailed by 20 at the break 48-28, behind Brown and McCollum’s efforts. Brown had 21 at the break, while McCollum had 11 points and six rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Eagles hampered themselves with 17 turnovers, including 11 first-half giveaways. Newberry outscored C-N 22-10 in points off turnovers.
Things didn’t get much better for C-N after halftime. The Eagles made just four of their first 21 shots. The Eagles did close the game by making six of their final nine from the field and used a 14-0 run, the Eagles’ longest of the season, to make things more respectable.
C-N’s defense kept things from getting too ugly. The Eagles limited Newberry to 36 percent shooting after halftime.
“If there is such a thing as a basketball hangover, we had one from the first half,” Benson said. “When we as coaches have to pick up our players off the mat mentally and emotionally, we have a problem. From a scout standpoint, we did the right stuff. We let the adversity of what Brown and McCollum created impact the things we could control – ball security, offensive execution and recognition. Our recognition and communication by our perimeter players was very inconsistent. That goes back to that first half shock.”
The 63 points C-N scored are a season-low. While C-N’s 36.8 percent shooting effort is its second worst of the year. Carson-Newman was a paltry 7-for-27 from long range, including a 2-of-14 effort after halftime.
The loss is the Eagles’ sixth consecutive road defeat and denied Chuck Benson his first crack at his 300th career victory.
Tripp Davis led Carson-Newman with 15 points. However, he saw his five-game streak of 20-point games come to an end one shy of tying Charles Clark’s school record.
Trey Smith reset his career high with 12 points. He was C-N’s only other player in double figures.