Kevin Kangu and T.J. Nesmith combined for 35 points but the Bears fell short at Carson-Newman on Wednesday night, 72-57. The Eagles grabbed their third straight win as LR dropped its second consecutive contest.
Each team suffered a scoring drought of five-and-a-half minutes in the first half but Carson-Newman would do enough to take a 32-26 lead into the break. The Eagles knocked down each of their first four 3-point attempts and would go 7-of-17 from long range in the first half.
T.J. Nesmith brought good energy off the bench, scoring four points and added three rebounds, two blocks and a steal. P.J. Joseph led LR with seven first-half points in just seven minutes of play and Jalen Johnson had five points. LR shot just 37.9 percent in the first half and 16 of their 26 points came in the paint.
Carson-Newman was paced by eight points from Caleb Bridgewater and six points and seven boards by Bryant Thomas.
In the second half, Kangu exploded with 14 second-half points and knocked down four 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes. Nesmith added 14 in the second half as well and went 5-of-6 from the field.
However, LR was held to 37.9 percent shooting and Carson-Newman hit 59.3 percent from the field (16-of-27). Joshuwa Butts had nine second-half points for the Eagles after being held scoreless in the first half
Nesmith’s 18 points are a career-high as are his seven made field goals on the night. Kangu reached double figures in scoring for the fifth time in six games this year with his 17-point performance.
No player had more than four rebounds for LR as Carson-Newman held a 42-27 edge on the boards. In addition, the Bears committed a season-low seven turnovers in the game.
LR cut the lead to one possession a handful of times but Carson-Newman led throughout.
This was the 70th all-time meeting between the two programs with LR holding a 37-33 advantage. The Bears are just 11-23 all-time in Jefferson City.
With the 26-point first half, LR had been held under 30 points in three straight halves.
Lenoir-Rhyne falls to 3-4 overall, 2-2 in South Atlantic Conference play. The Bears return to action with an exhibition game against Division I East Tennessee St. on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.