published Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Big Bennett game paces Flames win

Five Lee University men's basketball players scored 16 to 18 points as the Flames improved to 12-0 for the season with a 98-75 win Friday at winless Carver Baptist College. "Big" Steve Bennett had 19 rebounds with 18 points for the Flames, ranked No. 3 in NAIA Division I, while Duran Blue had 11 assists with 17 points and Chase Dunn contributed 17 points and four steals. Will Barnes and Corey Billingsley added 16 points each for Lee, Barnes with five assists. Nickolas Hood led Carver (0-14) with 19 points and four blocked shot.

• The Bryan College men's basketball game at Selma University scheduled for Friday evening was postponed until Jan. 28. Bryan's Lions (4-9) don't play again until Jan. 3 at Montreat College. The Bryan women host Bethel University at 2 p.m. today.

• The Georgia Northwestern men's basketball team edged the Tennessee Temple University junior varsity Friday at the Rossville Athletic Complex, 85-81, as Alex Miller scored 26 points and Hunter Ivester added 18 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Quinton Cotton scored 13 points for the Bobcats (5-8), including two free throws with three seconds to play. Karlos Rich'ard had 19 points and Douglas Slade and Antwan Ruise tallied 12 each for Temple. "Our team played great tonight and really showed a solid effort down the stretch," said GNTC coach David Stephenson, noting that the return of Fernando Lemus Jr. and Justin Dempsey when play resumes in January will make his rotation even stronger, especially in games against fellow two-year schools.

Football

• Ken Sparks confirmed in a news conference Thursday that he plans to return for his 34th season as Carson-Newman College's football coach, despite having resumed cancer treatment that he put off for most of the 2012 season. "I'm not through coaching. I'm going to live every day as full as I can and max it out at every opportunity," Sparks said. "If I can make an impact, I'll do this till the day I die as long as [school president] Dr. Randall O'Brien and the folks at Carson-Newman are OK with this. It'd be a shame for me to quit on a group of kids that thinks they're going to win the national championship next year." This year's Eagles lost in an NCAA Division II super regional final to the Valdosta State team that is playing today for the national title. O'Brien announced the establishment of the Ken Sparks "Making a Difference" academic endowed scholarship. "We're honored that Ken is going to continue to be our football coach," O'Brien said. "We've asked Coach Sparks if he would lend his name to this initiative providng academic scholarships to needy students to get a college education. His immediate response was, 'If we can do it for academics.'" With a career record of 308-83-2, all at the Jefferson City, Tenn., school, Sparks is ninth on the all-time wins list, and his .786 winning percentage is second among the top-10 winners to Mount Union's Larry Kehres, whose 331 victories is the only higher total among active coaches. As is his custom, Sparks turned Thursday's news conference into a worship time. "Everything that happens in our life, as a believer in Christ, is part of the big picture that's trying to grow us to be what he wants to be," the coach said. "He wants us to be difference makers and to be impactful with what we do in our lives."

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