First half flourish helps Eagles trounce Tornados

First half flourish helps Eagles trounce Tornados

VIDEO: Chuck Benson interview

VIDEO: Ryan Jones Interview

VIDEO: Carson Brooks Interview

BREVARD, N.C. – Carson-Newman (7-8, 5-4 South Atlantic Conference) powered through a 24-4 first half run en route to a 78-56 beat down of Brevard (5-10, 3-6 SAC) Wednesday night at Boshamer Gym. 

While the Eagles stampeded out on their 24-4 run, they made 10 consecutive baskets while holding Brevard without a point over a six-minute stretch.  The run was highlighted by fast break steals and dunks by Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Jay Lane (Manassas, Va.) as C-N built a 24-point lead with 3:42 left in the half. 

"We thought we were coming in to a real tough situation because Brevard had won back-to-back," head coach Chuck Benson said. "On top of that, their student section and crowd was the best and as involved as it's been since I've been here. But our guys came out with a great deal of focus.  We came out tonight with great intensity that led to a win."

Brevard got as close as 22 – the final margin – on a couple occasions in the second half, but the Eagles were largely able to keep the Tornados at bay. 

Carson-Newman forced nine Tornado turnovers in the first half and turned all but one of them into 16 first-half points off turnovers. 

C-N dominated in all facets of the game.  The Eagles outrebounded BC 48-25 and had as many offensive rebounds as the Tornados did defensive boards (15).

For the third consecutive game, the Eagles shot 50 percent or better against the Tornados.  Carson-Newman hit 32-of-60 shots.  The Eagles post triumvirate of Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.), Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) and Josh Rogers (Bristol, United Kingdom) combined to go 18-for-23 from the floor (78.2 percent) and score 41 points. 

Brooks led the way with 16, Williams added 15 and Rogers finished with 10.  Jared Johnson (Springfield, Mass.) wound up with 11 points to round out the Eagles' double-digit scorers. 

Ryan Jones (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) did something no other Eagle had done since 2011.  He reset his career high dishing out 10 assists.  Bradley Tumer was the last C-N player to accomplish that feat; he dropped 19 dimes against Newberry in an 11-point home victory in 2011.

"We've been thinking all along that he had the ability to do that," Benson said. "It's hard to be that productive right out of high school.  He broke out of his shell and his confidence should be pretty high. I'm happy for Ryan, because 10 assists is a really big night.  Credit his teammates too with finishing and scoring off his passes."

Carson-Newman was largely able to keep the league's top scoring duo of Darius Moose and Trevon Shaw in check.  Moose finished with a game high 20; however, the Eagles held Shaw to seven points on three-for-14 shooting.  He was 1-for-6 from deep. 

Brevard shot 32 percent from the field as a team and 24 percent from three. 

The Eagles' lone issue in the contest was turnovers.  Carson-Newman coughed it up 23 times, but the Eagles managed to outscore Brevard in points off turnovers 24-21 for the game. 

C-N had 20 fast break points to Brevard's 8. The 20 fast break points are the most for an Eagle team during the Chuck Benson era. 

Benson's Bunch stays on the road Saturday with a trip to Hartsville, S.C. to take on Coker.  Tipoff's set for 4 p.m., pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 3:45 with the Countdown to Tipoff Powered by the Appalachian Electric Cooperative on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at