Lady Eagles advance, Carson-Newman men fall in conference tourney


Men: Coker 80, Carson-Newman 72

Carson-Newman (19-8) coughed the rock up 21 times, one away from a season high, en route to an 80-72 home loss to Coker (15-12) Wednesday in a two versus seven matchup in the Food Lions South Atlantic Conference quarterfinals.

The loss is Carson-Newman's first at home since a senior day defeat to Wingate to close out the regular season in the 2012-13 season and ends a 12-game home winnings streak for the Eagles against conference competition.

The win is just the fifth loss by a two seed all-time in SAC tournament history. The Eagles own another of those, falling in an upset to Wingate in 1991 81-74.

"I so badly hate that this game went down like it did," C-N head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson said. "Our guys are across the board right now. Antoine Davis is literally inconsolable; he's blaming himself for this. It's time to sit tight and see what happens. We'll hope and pray that we can get an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament."

Carson-Newman got 28 points from Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) who moved past Presbyterian's Chuck Rayford and into fourth place on the South Atlantic Conference's all-time scoring list with 1,911 career points.

Antoine Davis had 10 for the Eagles to move past the 1,500-point barrier for his career. Sawyer Williams(Owenton, Ky.) added 10 for the Eagles as well.

Julian Nelson – an honorable mention All-SAC performer - led the Cobras with 22.

"The credit goes to Coker," Benson said. "They came in on the road and won in a tough environment. They've got seven seniors, and even when their backs were against the wall, they responded in a big time way."

Coker turned the Eagles' 21 turnovers into 25 points. The loss is Carson-Newman's first this year when they led at the five minute mark in the second half (the Eagles were up 66-65). It also marks just the third time in the last two years that the Eagles have dropped a game when scoring more than 70 points.

Coker advances to face Anderson in the South Atlantic Conference semifinals in Greenville, S.C. at 2:30 p.m. Carson-Newman fill find out if it's fortunate enough to continue playing in the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday at 10:30 p.m. in a broadcast on

The Eagles were ranked sixth in the region rankings coming in to Wednesday's contest.

Women: Carson-Newman 82, Catawba 68

The fourth-seeded Carson-Newman Lady Eagles (16-13, 12-10 South Atlantic Conference) women's basketball team defeated the fifth-seeded Catawba Lady Indians (14-13, 12-10 South Atlantic Conference) by a score of 82-68 in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Food Lion SAC Women's Basketball Championship at Holt Fieldhouse on Wednesday evening.

The win advances Carson-Newman to the semifinals of the conference tournament, and the Lady Eagles will face the top-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne Bears atTimmons Arena in Greenville, S.C., on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

"We kind of got off to a slow start but then we put the ball in the basket, got to 39 points at the half, then shot 60 percent from the field in the second half," said Carson-Newman head coach Mike Mincey. "Just a great defensive effort and an even better offensive effort."

Sophomore Jai Jai McLaughlin (Knoxville, Tenn.) recorded the second triple-double of her career and this season by scoring 11 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing out 12 assists. McLaughlin also had a triple-double at Tusculum against the Pioneers on Jan. 22.

"I don't know how many people have had two triple-doubles in one year," Mincey said. "She played really hard, and she guarded their best player the majority of the game. Hats off to Jai Jai she played a heck of a ballgame."

Carson-Newman was led in scoring by the 16 points of junior Lashawnda Peacher (Springfield, Tenn.), and she was joined in double figures by the 12 points of SAC Freshman of the Year Kaitlyn Cupples (Clinton, Tenn.), the 11 points of McLaughlin and sophomore Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.), as well as the 10 points off the bench from junior Jassmine Franklin (Lexington, Ky.).

The Lady Eagles scored the game's first four points, but most of the first half would be back-and-forth between the Lady Eagles and Lady Indians. In the first half there were three ties, and 12 lead changes before Carson-Newman took control of the game.

After trailing Catawba 21-20 with 6:58 remaining, the Lady Eagles unleashed a 14-2 run that was keyed by a pair of Burstrom 3-pointers. The run put Carson-Newman's lead at 34-23 with 3:24 to go, and the Lady Eagles carried a 39-27 lead into halftime.

While the Lady Eagles didn't score their first field goal until the 13-minute mark of the second half, Carson-Newman maintained its large lead thanks mainly to solid free throw shooting. Catawba would never get closer than eight points to Carson-Newman in the second half, as the Lady Eagles shot 60 percent from the field in the second period.

Junior Lacy Miller (Dandridge, Tenn.) hit a pair of critical 3-pointers in the second half to grow the Carson-Newman lead and served as benchmarks for the Lady Eagle win. Both Carson-Newman and Catawba played reserve players in the final minutes, as the Lady Eagles won by 14.

Carson-Newman shot 50 percent (27-for-54) from the field in the game, and the Lady Eagles had 21 assists compared to 13 turnovers.

Carson-Newman will now prepare for Saturday's seminfinal game against top-seeded L-R at 4:30 p.m.

Saturday's tournament game will be carried on the Eagle Sports Network's flagship station WPFT-FM 106.3 FM, with coverage beginning at 4:15 p.m. with "The Countdown to Tipoff," and live audio is also available on


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