First-half surge lifts Eagles over Bobcats, 98-70

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. --- The Carson-Newman University men's basketball team converted 24-of-27 attempts at the free throw line, and rallied for a 98-70 victory over Lees-McRae College with a 31-9 first-half run in non-conference play on Monday evening.

Carson-Newman (5-1) posted a field goal percentage of 47.8 percent on the night, including a 48.7 percent clip in the first half, while holding Lees-McRae (3-5) to a mark of 43.1 percent from the floor. The Eagles won the battle on the glass by a 41-30 margin, edging the Bobcats, 15-8 on the offensive boards, and converting 19 Lees-McRae miscues into 28 points.

Mike Chambers (Winston-Salem, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with 13 points, as Rishad Felton (Hendersonville, N.C.) added 11 points with a 3-for-4 night from downtown. Jacquise Moore (Concord, N.C.) chipped in six boards and three steals, as he, Chase Arnold (Kingsport, Tenn.), and Darius Malbon (Hickory, N.C.) each tallied seven points.

Antoine Davis led all scorers with 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor while going 5-for-7 from three-point range, as Ishmael Sanders added 23 points and a game-high seven assists for the Eagles. Josh Rogers chipped in a double-double with 10 points and a contest-best 11 boards, and Carson Brooks poured in 10 points of his own.

The Bobcats scored nine of the game's first 15 points, taking an early 9-6 lead on a trey by Chambers at the 17:23 mark. Carson-Newman would counter with a 9-2 spurt, claiming a 15-11 advantage with 13:10 to go following a Davis lay-in.

After a Chambers bucket trimmed the margin to 15-13, the Eagles countered with a 31-9 surge, pushing the advantage to 46-22 on a Sanders triple before taking a 52-27 lead into the intermission. Carson-Newman would carry the momentum into the second half, opening the period with a 16-2 run to widen the gap to 68-29 with 16:25 left on the clock.

The Bobcats responded with a 14-2 spurt of their own, cutting the margin to 70-43 following a Chambers trifecta at the 12:41 mark. After Carson-Newman countered with 12 of the next 14, Lees-McRae answered with a 25-16 run over the final eight minutes, closing the gap to 98-70 and finishing strong with a late triple by Felton.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday, December 7 when the Bobcats travel to Bristol, Tenn. to open Conference Carolinas play against King University at 7:30 p.m.

- LMC -