ANDERSON, S.C. – Anderson junior Myson Jones drained a 15-foot jumper from the right side with 0.9 seconds remaining, as the Anderson men’s basketball team claimed its fifth consecutive victory by outlasting Carson-Newman, 83-81, in South Atlantic Conference action Wednesday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson (14-5, 9-4 SAC) moved into second place in the league standings, a half-game ahead of Newberry and Wingate, which had their respective contests postponed due to weather concerns. By winning its third straight home contest, the Trojans moved five games above .500 in conference play on the season.
Carson-Newman (11-6, 8-5 SAC) suffered its third straight road setback and dropped into a tie for fifth place in the conference standings.
Both teams displayed shooting accuracy, with the Eagles recording 52.5 percent from the field, while Anderson shot 50 percent on the night, including 11-of-23 from beyond the arc (47.8 percent). The Trojans out-rebounded Carson-Newman, 32-28, marking the sixth straight game Anderson has pulled down more rebounds than its opponent. But the Eagles flexed their muscle inside, outscoring AU, 44-26, in the paint.
Four Trojans reached double figures for the second time in three games, as senior guard Chandler Hash led the Trojans with 22 points, while senior guard CJ Gleaton added 19 points and five rebounds. Jones finished the night with 16 points, while redshirt junior Nick Jackson came off the bench to tally a career-high 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 21 minutes of action.
Carson-Newman forward Antoine Davis led all scorers with 29 points and pulled down a game-high eight boards, while guard Ish Sanders dropped in 15 points. Junior guard Jared Johnson netted 12 points and handed out seven assists for the visitors and Carson Brooks chipped in 10 points.
“We just made the last play,” said Anderson head coach Jason Taylor. “[Carson-Newman] is a very good team. We out-rebounded them in the second half, which was huge.”
Jackson connected on the second of two free throws with 24.9 seconds on the clock to give the Trojans an 81-78 lead, but Sanders quickly answered for Carson-Newman with a deep 3-pointer from the corner on the other end to even the score at 81-81 with just 19.6 seconds left.
The Trojans inbounded the ball and worked upcourt with Jones getting a screen at the top of the circle from Chris Ross and as he moved to his right, the 5-foot-9 guard launched the game-winning shot as he went toward the basket. Jones played a pivotal role in the closing seconds of an AU victory for the second straight contest after delivering the assist on Chandler Hash’s last-second game-winner in last Saturday’s win past Queens.
The contest was a game of offensive surges, with both teams posting multiple scoring runs throughout the 40-minute span. The score was knotted 13 times and there were 18 lead changes.
Anderson snapped a 14-14 tie with six straight points only to see the Eagles counter with nine unanswered points to claim a 23-20 edge with 11:17 remaining in the opening half. The Trojans then reeled off seven consecutive points over the next 1:30 to regain a four-point advantage, as Jackson nailed a jumper and Hash followed with five straight points.
The Eagles’ Davis responded with a traditional three-point play and a 3-pointer, and with the Eagles holding a 29-27 lead, AU posted nine unanswered points to push out to a 36-29 lead at the 6:27 mark of the half. Carson-Newman then recorded seven straight points as part of a 14-6 run to close the half, as the Eagles took a 43-42 lead to the locker room.
Carson-Newman took its largest lead of the contest, 55-50, on a jumper from Davis with less than 15 minutes to play, but Anderson’s Hash knotted the score for the ninth time on a traditional three-point play with 13:05 on the clock. Gleaton followed with a pair of free throws to give AU a lead and the Trojans would not trail again until there was just more than a minute left in the contest.
Anderson opened its largest lead of the contest, at 74-66, at the 5:58 mark on DJ McGowan’s 3-pointer, but Davis’ jumper with 1:06 left gave the visitors a brief 78-77 edge – their first since the 12:05 mark of the second half. Hash’s old-fashioned three-point play with 41.4 ticks left gave AU the 80-78 lead and the Trojan defense then forced a turnover 15 seconds later. Jackson drew a foul on the Trojans’ next possession and connected on one-of-two from the line to boost AU’s edge to three and set up the final heroics.
Anderson embarks on a three-game conference road swing, its longest of the season, as the Trojans travel to Newberry on Saturday. The Trojans edged the Wolves, 85-83, in overtime earlier this season at the Abney Center. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.