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Tay Smith
Tay Smith had 18 points and six rebounds for the Bears.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

LR Men’s Basketball Lose at Carson-Newman

The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Basketball Team had five players score in double figures but couldn’t slow Carson-Newman in Holt Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon., 91-73. All five players scored between 10 and 13 points led by 13 each from Tay Smith and Jaheim Taylor. However, the standout of the game was Carson-Newman’s John Zhao who finished with 33 points and went 7-of-10 from three.

Eleven of the first 14 points of the game went to Lenoir-Rhyne as the Bears jumped ahead early. With the Bears up 40-38 late in the first, Carson-Newman closed the first half with an 8-0 scoring spurt in the final 53 seconds to grab a six point lead. All eight of the Eagles points came from Zhao who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and scored five points in 14 seconds. The Bears faced a halftime deficit despite shooting 59.3 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from long range in the first half. Nas Tyson led LR with 10 points and didn’t miss a shot. Zhao had 19 in the first half and was 7-of-8 from the field and hit four of his five 3-pointers. The Eagles led by double figures most of the second half and led by as many as 21. C-N shot 56.7 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes and held LR to just 9-of-28 (32.1 percent) shooting. Gabe Cerda had a career-best 12 points in the loss and hit all six of his free throws. Jack Browder had a double-double for Carson-Newman with 14 points and 11 boards and added six assists and two blocked shots. This was the first time this year that LR has five players scoring in double digits.

The loss drops LR below .500 for the first time this year. This is the first time in the last four games that LR didn’t lead at the half. The Bears have struggled at Holt Fieldhouse, owning just an 11-25 record in the NCAA Era. Carson-Newman has won seven straight games in the head-to-head series. The last time LR won at Carson-Newman came in December of 2018 in a 78-62 victory. The Bears fall to ninth in the conference standings with the top eight advancing to the conference tournament. LR is 4-8 in road contests this season. They only have one more road contest this year and finish with four of the last five in Shuford Arena.

Lenoir-Rhyne is 11-12 overall, 6-9 in the South Atlantic Conference. The Bears will return home to host Catawba on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.