Posted: Jan 16, 2019
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Donovan Donaldson recorded his second double-double of the season with 17 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to lead the Tusculum University men's basketball team to a 63-49 South Atlantic Conference win over arch-rival Carson-Newman University Wednesday night before a crowd of 1,352 at Pioneer Arena.
Tusculum (7-8, 3-4 SAC) wraps up a perfect home-stand with its third straight victory while snapping a four-game losing streak to the Eagles (9-7, 2-7 SAC). The 49 points allowed by Tusculum are the fewest this season. It is also the fewest points C-N has scored against the Pioneers since 1948 when TU defeated the Eagles 65-42. Tusculum's last opponent to be held under 50 points was Lenoir-Rhyne in 2011 when TU posted a 53-44 victory over the Bears in Greeneville.
Donaldson posted a double-double alone in the second half as he tallied 10 points and 10 boards as Tusculum erased 36-29 deficit with 18:42 remaining in the game. Trailing 39-33, TU went on an 18-2 run and clamped down defensively limiting the Eagles to 10 points for the final 17:30 and held C-N to just 17 markers in the second period. Donaldson's 17 boards are tied for the seventh most in program history, matching the rebound tally by Daniel O'Conner against Knoxville College in 2012.
Tusculum freshman Trenton Gibson finished with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists, while juniors Dillon Smith and Tariq Jenkins added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Carson-Newman's Malik Abraham poured in five 3-pointers in the first half for his 15 points, but went 0-for-2 from beyond the arc in the second half. Grant Teichmann, C-N's top scorer entering tonight's action, was held to seven points, but dished out seven markers in his 38 minutes on the floor.
The Pioneers finished the evening connecting on 10 three-pointers while the Eagles tallied nine triples with eight of those coming in the first half to spark C-N to a 32-29 halftime lead. There were four lead changes and two ties as neither team led by more than five points in the opening period.
In the second half, C-N got layups from Brendan Coleman and Cameron Andre to take a 36-29 lead in the opening 1:18 of the period. Donaldson trimmed the deficit to three with a four-point play as TU trailed 36-33 with 17:53 remaining. C-N's Nick Rogers answered with a three-point to push the lead back out to six at 39-33.
Donaldson ignited the TU run with a three-pointer and a basket to pull within one (39-38) with 15:57 to go.
Both teams went cold from the floor over the next three minutes. TU junior Caleb Hodnett broke the scoring drought with a jumper in the paint as the Pioneers regained the lead at 40-39 with 12:51 left. Brandon Mitchell added a layup to up the Tusculum advantage to 42-39 with 11:26 remaining. Teichmann snapped C-N's 0-for-6 drought with his fast-break layup to cut the TU lead to one (42-41).
But on the next trip down the floor, Smith buried a three-pointer to spark a 9-0 run as the Pioneers led 51-41 with eight minutes on the scoreboard. After an Andre layup, TU went on an. 8-2 spurt to take its largest lead of the night at 59-45 with 3:53 remaining.
Back-to-back baskets by Reece Anderson cut the TU lead to 59-49 with 2:31 remaining. But the Eagles would miss their final four shots of the game and Tusculum connected on its last four free throw tries to post its first home win over the Eagles since Jan. 25, 2014.
Donaldson finished the game with four 3-pointers, while Smith, Gibson and Jenkins had two treys each.
Tusculum finished the game shooting 21-of-54 for 39 percent while C-N shot 19-of-56 for 34 percent, including 7-of-29 in the second half (24%). TU also out-rebounded the Eagles by a 42-32 margin and posted seven blocked shots including three by Mitchell.
The Pioneers will be on the road on Saturday to take on Wingate University at Cuddy Arena beginning at 4 p.m.