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Carson-Newman basketball team honored in postseason

6:35 PM, Mar 6, 2013   |    comments
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From Carson-Newman University:

Carson-Newman men's basketball team has hauled in a bevy of postseason honors from the South Atlantic Conference. Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) is the league's player of the year; Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) made the All-SAC first team with Davis; and C-N head coach Chuck Benson won the league's coach of the year honor for the first time.

The player of the year honor is just the second for a C-N men's basketball player and the first since 2002-03 when Kyle Gribble took home the hardware.

Davis leads the South Atlantic Conference in scoring (19.0 points per game) and made field goals (170). The junior has scored double figures in 17 consecutive contests, and if not for a game at Hiwassee in which he injured his foot and only played five minutes and scored three points, that string of games would be 26 and include every game this season.

He has torched two opponents for 30 points. He went for a career best 36 against Queens on Dec. 18. He hit a career high 13 field goals and a career high eight threes in that game. At Newberry on Feb. 21, Davis crested 30 again, this time scoring 31 on 10-for-18 shooting. In that game he set a career mark for made free throws with eight.

He's scored double figures in 25 games this year, 20 points in 12 and has had at least five rebounds in 20 of them. A two-time South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week award winner, Davis became the first C-N player since 2003-2004 with multiple 30-point games in a single season. He collected his third career double-double with a 17-point, 12-rebound (also a career high) effort against Mars Hill. Davis has taken remarkable care of the ball, with only five games this year with three or more turnovers. He is fourth in the nation in three point field goal percentage (46.3) and 21st in made threes per game (3.43).

Meanwhile, Sanders has put up equally impressive numbers. The sharp-shooting guard finished second in the conference in scoring this season at 18.7 points per game and made 3.7 three-pointers per game, the second-most in the nation.

A SAC Player of the Week award winner, Sanders turned in four consecutive 25-point performances, the longest such streak at Carson-Newman this century. He is one of three SAC players with consecutive 25-point performances, but the only player who has gone beyond two. Sanders set a season high with 33 points in a home win against then league-leading Anderson. The shooting guard went 11-for-22 from the field and 9-for-18 from three in that game. It was the fourth most threes in a single game in SAC history. In that contest, Sanders set Carson-Newman's single season record for three pointers made - the previous record was 86, Sanders stands at 96.

Benson earns coach of the year honors after guiding C-N to a 12-6 mark in conference play. The 12 conference wins are Carson-Newman's most since 2001-2002 when it went to the NCAA tournament. Benson also has the Eagles a win away from their first 20-win season since the 02-03 campaign.

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