Eagles’ three-game win streak ends at Queens with 70-66 defeat

carson-newman sports logoFor the second time in 18 days, Queens (5-5, 2-2 Conference Carolinas) and Carson-Newman (8-2, 1-1 South Atlantic Conference) battled on the hardwood. Unlike the first meeting, a 90-55 Carson-Newman win, the Royals used a suffocating three-point defense to win at home at the Grady Cole Center 70-66 over C-N.

The four-point margin is the closest for C-N this season.

“They are two contrasting situations,” Carson-Newman head men’s basketball coach Chuck Benson said. “First game they come to our place and it’s the last game before both teams’ Christmas breaks. It’s really hard to win on the road in that last game before Christmas. This game it’s our first game back and it’s their second game back this semester. They were coming in off a loss and were motivated to come out even more aggressively.”

The Eagles surrendered their first double-double of the season to Antonio Stabler. Stabler went for 29 points and 10 rebound after the Eagles held him to two points in the first meeting.

After combing for 61 points in the first meeting, Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) and Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) were held to 30 combined. Sanders had a team high 18 while Davis contributed 12.

Also unlike the first meeting, Queen kept the Eagles at bay from beyond

the arc. Back on Dec. 18, the Eagles shot nearly 60 percent from three-point land. To start the New Year, the Royals held the Eagles to a season low three triples. C-N is 1-2 this season when making 10 or less threes in a game.

“They really stretched out and pressured us on catches,” Benson said.

“They conceded helping off of Antoine and Ish on drives and penetration. We were able to get into the paint and get to the line, where we didn’t capitalize. Their plan worked.”

For the first time all season, the Eagles found themselves on the losing end of the rebounding battle. Queens grabbed 41 boards to the Eagles 35.

“You can’t take away the fact that they are a big athletic team,” Benson said. “I like the fight and character of our team, but today, we got our butt kicked on the boards and the credit for that has to go to Queens.”

Cody Henegar (South Pittsburg, Tenn.) contributed a season high 13 points for the Eagles, while Jared Johnson turned in a season best 11-point performance.

It was the first time this season that C-N lost with three or more players in double figures.

“Sometimes you have to lose and learn,” Benson said. “I hope this shakes the wrinkles out of our shorts and gets us ready for Tusculum on Wednesday.”

The Eagles reenter conference play Wednesday evening against rival Tusculum. The game will be a part of a men’s and women’s basketball double-header with the Pioneers. Coverage for the two contests begins with the women’s game at 6 p.m. on the Coca Cola Eagle Sports Network on ESPN Radio 106.3 The Zone and online at cneagles.com. The men’s game follows at 8 p.m. Pregame coverage for the double-header starts at 5:45 p.m. with the Farm Bureau Countdown to Tipoff.