Brevard, N.C. - Four Tornados scored in double figures, but the Eagles matched Brevard point for point Wednesday night before Brevard defensive pressure forced a rushed last-second shot by Carson-Newman’s Cameron Sharp as the Tornados held off the visiting Eagles in Boshamer Gymnasium, 67-65.
Jonathan Whitson led the Brevard (13-5, 5-2 SAC) scoring effort with 14 points, going seven of 12 from the floor while pulling down a game-high nine rebounds and blocking two shots. Sam Carlisle added 13 points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks off the bench and Josh Roper had 11 points, four rebounds and five assists as the Tornados connected on 49.1 percent (28-57) of their field goal attempts in the game. Nathan Whitmire added 10 points and six rebounds and Darin Dellinger added seven assists as the Tornados won their fifth SAC game of the season.
Sharp led the Eagles with 28 points, going seven of eight from the floor in the first half and finishing the game with seven three-pointers as the sophomore finished 10-16 from the floor in the game. Jordan Dixon added 12 points and seven assists as the Eagles as a team connected on 51.1 percent (24-47) of their field goal attempts in the game.
The Tornados opened up the first half with the slight 17-16 lead as Whitson scored eight of Brevard’s points during the 8:26 stretch. Carson-Newman would respond by going on a 14-3 run started on a three-pointer by Quinche Dowdell and the Eagles used eight straight points by Sharp to go up by the largest margin of either side in the game, taking a 30-20 lead at the 4:23 mark.
The team’s traded three-pointers as Dellinger connected for Brevard and Sharp answered on the next trip down the court, but a jump hook in the paint by Carlisle brought the game back to within single digits at 33-25. Shane Galloway connected on a three-pointer off the assist from Dellinger with 1:18 on the clock to cut the deficit to five and Roper stole the ball away from Tray Okoth and went in for the breakaway dunk to put Brevard down by three with just over a minute remaining in the opening period. A jumper by Okoth with 31 seconds left finished the scoring in the first half as the teams went into the locker room with the Tornados down 36-31.
The start of the second half saw the first tie of the game as Roper connected from behind the arc off the assist from Dellinger to put the score at 40-40 with 17:13 to go in the game. The Tornados took their first lead in the game since the 11:34 mark in the first half on their next trip down the court on a layup by Whitson and a three-pointer by Shane Galloway extended the lead to 45-40 in favor of the home team with 15:18 to play.
The teams traded scores with neither team being able to pull away until with the score at 54-53 with 8:27 on the clock, Sharp drilled back to back three-pointers to give the Eagles the five point advantage at 59-54. A three-pointer by Whitmire cut the deficit back to two and Roper’s layup tied the game up for the fifth time as Brevard went on a 13-2 run in building a 67-61 advantage with last points coming on Carlisle’s offensive rebound and put back off a missed three-pointer by Roper with 1:55 left in the game.
Carson-Newman battled back as Dowdell went in for the layup and Darron Maxtion hit a pair of free throws to put the score at 67-65 with 51 seconds left in the game. Following a Brevard missed layup, Carson-Newman called timeout, drawing up a shot for Sharp in the corner. Sharp rushed on the attempt as Roper came out to close and in the ensuing scuffle for the ball time ran out as the Tornados survived their third straight close game, pulling out the 67-65 win.
Brevard is back in action on Wednesday, January 27th, as the Tornados travel to Newberry, S.C. to take on SAC opponent Newberry College. Tipoff in Eleazer Arena is set for 8 p.m.