Brevard, N.C. - Carson-Newman never trailed in the game on Wednesday night as they handed the Brevard College Tornados their first South Atlantic Conference loss on the season. Five Tornados scored in double figures in the loss, led by Gaither Hendrix with 21, but 17 turnovers plagued Brevard as they fell for just the third time this season.
Hendrix led Brevard (4-3, 2-1 SAC) with his 21 point effort, going five of 13 from the floor and hitting a team-high three three-pointers as the Tornados shot 41.9 percent (26-62) from the field in the contest. Josh Roper added 17 points and five assists, while Josh Jordan scored a career-high 17 points in addition to eight rebounds. Drew Schauss and Vincent Dombrowski finished with 10 points apiece.
John Holleman led the visiting Eagles (4-7, 1-2 SAC) with a game-high 24 points, hitting nine of 14 shots from the floor as well as pulling down five rebounds. Antonio Sullivan added 20 points, going eight of 13, while Ishmael Sanders hit four three-pointers on his way to an 18 point performance. Kevin Hare rounded out the Eagles in double figures with 11 points on the evening.
Bradley Tumer scored the first points of the game with a pair of free throws and Sullivan drained a three-pointer as the Eagles opened up the game with a 5-0 lead. A steal and a dunk on the fast break by Roper put the Tornados on the board with 17:45 left in the opening period, but the Eagles went on a 10-4 run following the Roper slam as Hare and Sanders hit back-to-back three-pointers to put Carson-Newman up 15-6 with 14:31 on the clock.
Schauss and Dombrowski drilled back-to-back three-pointers on Brevard’s next two trips down the court, offsetting another three-pointer by Sanders as the Tornados began a 16-7 run as five different Brevard players found the bottom of the net, capped by a free throw by Josh Jordan as the Tornados tied the game up at 22 with 9:00 remaining in the opening half.
A jumper by Holleman put the Eagles back in the lead at 24-22 and following a three-pointer by Hendrix at the 4:15 mark, in which Brevard cut the lead back to within three at 34-31, Carson-Newman closed out the first half with a 15-8 scoring spurt, capped by four straight free throws by Sanders as the teams headed to the locker room with Carson-Newman holding the 49-36 lead.
The Tornados brought the lead back to within single digits at 59-50 after Schauss went in for a layup at the 14:11 mark as Brevard fought to keep the game within reach throughout the second half. Brevard brought the score all the way back to within three points at 92-89 as Hendrix completed the rare four-point play after getting fouled on a three-pointer with 29 seconds remaining, but a pair of free throws by Kevin Leatherwood extended the lead back out to five and Hare sealed the game at the line, hitting both free throws as the Eagles left Boshamer Gymnasium with the 96-89 victory.
Brevard held the rebounding edge, outrebounding the Eagles 40-34, led by Darius Moose as the freshman pulled down a season-high 10 rebounds and the Tornados shot 87.9 percent (29-33) from the charity stripe, including 95.2 percent (20-21) in the second half. The Eagles hit 50.8 percent (32-63) of their field goal attempts in the victory and 40.0 percent (10-25) of their three-point attempts in their first SAC victory of the season.
The Tornados remain at Boshamer Gymnasium this weekend as they host Mars Hill College in South Atlantic Conference action on Saturday, January 8th. Tipoff between the Tornados and the Lions is set for 4 p.m.