CHINA GROVE — Colton Laws' career-high 35 points helped, but the pivotal moments in Carson's 75-50 win against Mount Pleasant came with Laws on the bench in foul trouble.
Carson (3-5) watched a 19-point halftime lead melt to 10 in the third quarter, but guard Tre Williams led the charge that helped Carson turn back the Tigers (4-2).
“We've come out of halftime a lot of games without the intensity we needed,” Williams said. “But as a leader and captain, it's my job to keep a level head and give this team whatever it needs.”
With Carson leading 45-35, the Tigers missed a layup that would've cut their deficit to single digits, and the Cougars didn't give them another chance.
Williams made a slick pass to Rameiq Howard for a bucket, Malachi Parker scored inside, and Williams threaded a beautiful fastbreak pass to Marquez McCain for two more. When Howard scored on a jump-hook, the lead was 18, and the Cougars were headed to the winner's circle.
“We had a lot of assists tonight, we ran the floor and we hit our free throws,” Laws said. “We needed the win.”
Carson's shortcoming isn't talent — it's consistency. Against Mount Pleasant, the Cougars played well for longer stretches.
“I still don't think we've played 32 minutes yet,” Carson coach Brian Perry said. “But maybe we're getting closer. Holding them off tonight in the third quarter was a pretty important step for us.”
Carson trailed 7-0 early, but it then went on a blistering 27-1 run that lasted well into the second quarter. Laws enjoyed a 10-point first quarter, and Williams scored five points in one 20-second burst.
“We had a very competitive practice Wednesday,” Williams said. “When you go that hard against your teammates, you want to carry it over when you play guys you don't know.”
Carson led 41-22 at the break by using its size advantage. There were occasions when the Cougars got five shot attempts off rebounding flurries. The 6-foot-6 Laws and musclemen Howard and Myquon Stout owned the glass.
On one telling sequence, Stout and Howard kept a ball alive until Andrew Hower was finally able to bury a 3-pointer.
“We were outsized, but we did a pretty good job banging inside until we got in foul trouble,” Mount coach Jason Seidel said. “The bigger problem for us was turnovers, and that's been the issue for us so far.”
Trey Swaringen hit four 3s and scored 19 for the Tigers.
Laws also had 10 rebounds and five blocks. He hit 15 free throws and made one dunk.
The junior had the third-biggest scoring game in Carson history. Nick Houston had a 37-point night, while Darius Moose had a 36-point outing.
MT. PLEASANT (50) — Swaringen 19, A. Parker 9, Green 8, Drake 6, Taylor 3, Chambers 2, Aistrop 2, Coble 1, Hunt.
CARSON (75) — Laws 35, Williams 8, McCain 6, Howard 6, Hower 6, M. Parker 6, Stout 4, Raper 4, Purcell, Love, Leget.
Mt. Pleasant 8 14 17 11 — 50
Carson 22 19 16 18 — 75