Pioneers drop heartbreaker in 75-74 home loss to Carson-Newman

Pioneers drop heartbreaker in 75-74 home loss to Carson-Newman

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Charles Clark hit the game-winning layup with 1.4 seconds remaining as Carson-Newman rallied from a 10-point deficit to edge arch-rival Tusculum 75-74 Wednesday night at Pioneer Arena.

The Eagles (16-9, 13-6 South Atlantic Conference) complete the season sweep over TC and snap the Pioneers' (11-14, 8-11 SAC) three-game home winning streak.  It also marked the first time C-N has swept the season series against Tusculum since the 2012-13 campaign.

Clark poured in a game-high 30 points, including 18 in the first half.  Clark played in every minute in the second half, including the final 10:40 with four fouls.

Tusculum, who led 39-34 at halftime, used a 7-0 run to take its largest lead of the night at 53-43 with 14:24 remaining following a three-pointer from the TC senior Zach Davis and a layup by senior teammate Kendall Patterson.

Patterson connected on a trey at the 6:23 mark to give Tusculum a 61-53 lead.  C-N responded with an 8-2 run to trim the deficit to 63-61 following a Clark bucket with 3:34 to go.

TC senior Chase Mounce hit two free throws with 3:11 remaining to push the advantage back to four at 65-61.  But Sawyer Williams came up with one of his seven offensive rebounds and converted the put-back as the Eagles trailed by two at 65-63 with 2:53 left on the clock.

On Tusculum's next possession, with the shot clock winding down, senior Cory Fagan drained a clutch three pointer for a 68-63 lead with 2:29 to go.  C-N's Cameron Holmes answered with a three-pointer 12 seconds later from the right wing to cut the deficit to two (68-66).

The Pioneers worked the ball around and once again with the shot clock running out, Patterson nailed an acrobatic trey to put Tusculum ahead 71-66 with 1:45 remaining.

On Carson-Newman's ensuing trip down the floor, it was Williams to the rescue again as he gathered in a C-N miss and game through with a thunderous dunk on the rebound to make it a 71-68 game with 1:33 to go.

Tusculum worked the shot clock down again, but this time came up empty on a missed three-point attempt.  Holmes got behind the Tusculum defense and connected on the game-tying three-pointer with 54.7 seconds remaining to even the contest at 71-71.

After a Tusculum timeout, Patterson found Fagan open as the Oak Ridge, Tennessee native buried the go-ahead three-pointer with 29.6 seconds left as the Pioneers led again by three (74-71).  C-N got the ball across midcourt and called a timeout with 22.9 seconds to go.

The Eagles worked for the game-tying shot and found Abraham at the top of the key as he got off an off-balanced attempt, but TC was whistled for the foul with nine seconds remaining, sending Abraham to the line for three free throws.  He made the first two but missed on the third as Patterson hauled in the rebound and was fouled with 7.4 seconds left.

Patterson missed the front end of the one-and-bonus as Williams hauled in his 12th rebound of the evening. Clark drove the length of the floor and made an acrobatic layup with 1.4 on the scoreboard to give the Eagles their first lead of the second half.

The Pioneers called two timeouts to set up a play, but were unable to find a player open in the TC front court.  Tusculum got the ball to Patterson who got off a desperation heave from 60 feet away, but his shot was off target as the Eagles completed the remarkable comeback.

Clark finished the night shooting 11-of-22 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from three-point territory and 6-of-7 from the free throw line.  He also hauled in eight rebounds and dished out three assists.  Williams posted a double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds as he went 12-of-17 from the field.

Patterson led the Pioneers with 20 points going 8-of-16 from the field, while dishing out seven assists in his 35 minutes of action.  The loss spoiled a personal milestone for Patterson, who recorded his 1,000-point in his collegiate career.  He entered Wednesday's game with 998 career points, including 352 in his two seasons at Barton College.  In his 111-game career he has totaled 1,018 points, including 666 in his two TC campaigns.

Fagan finished the night with 18 points, including four 3-pointers giving him 197 treys for his career, moving him into fourth place in Tusculum history. Wednesday also marked his 41st consecutive game with a trey, which continues to be a new TC record.

Ronnie Baylark and Davis finished with 10 points each, while senior Chase Mounce accounted for seven points and three rebounds in the loss.

Carson-Newman out-rebounded the Pioneers by a 45-31 margin, including 15-4 on the offensive boards resulting into 17 second-chance points for the Eagles.  C-N also out-scored the Pioneers 42-26 in the paint and held a 15-0 margin in fast-break points.  Tusculum forced 10 turnovers, converting those miscues into 14 points.  TC also committed a season-low six turnovers for the evening.

The Pioneers return to action on Saturday when they host Newberry for a 4 p.m. contest.  Tusculum will be honoring its five seniors at the conclusion of the TC/Newberry women's game which is slated to start at 2 p.m. from Pioneer Arena.