HARROGATE, Tenn. — The 20th-ranked Railsplitters closed the first half with two unanswered buckets and carried that momentum into the second half, storming past the University of Virginia-Wise Cavaliers, 83-57, in non-conference men’s basketball action on Saturday.
The Railsplitters — winners of four straight — improved to 8-1 on the season, while UVa-Wise fell to 5-3.
The Railsplitters never trailed in the contest, but the Cavaliers kept things close throughout much of the first half. Lincoln Memorial assumed its largest lead of the first stanza at the 9:59 mark, as Curtis Webb canned a three-pointer to give the ‘Splitters a 22-16 cushion. However, the Cavaliers fought back to square the game at 27-27 on a James Turner three-pointer with 4:12 remaining in the half. The Railsplitters regained command, but Charles George cut the Cavalier deficit to 34-33 with a lay-up with 1:23 on the clock.
Following that bucket by UVa-Wise, the Railsplitters closed the half on a 4-0 run, starting what would eventually pan out to a 23-5 run over an 8:38 span of game time. The Railsplitters used a balanced offensive display over that flourish which provided a commanding 57-28 advantage. Keenan Peterson left behind a scoreless first half by leading LMU with seven points during the spurt, while Chance Jones and Lorenza Ross added six and five, respectively.
Now facing a 19-point deficit with 13:45 left in regulation, the Cavaliers rallied to close the gap to 59-45 on a James Turner three-pointer by the 10:49 mark. But the Railsplitters kept UVa-Wise at bay, as a Tim Pierce three and a lay-up from Jones pushed LMU back out to a 64-45 lead. Over the final ten minutes of action, the Railsplitters never led by less than 17 while mounting as large as a 28-point advantage.
Lincoln Memorial finished shooting 50 percent in the contest, canning 32-of-64 field-goal attempts with a seven-for-14 mark from beyond the three-point line. The Railsplitters paired an efficient offensive performance with its stingiest defensive effort of the season, limiting the Cavaliers to a 29.2 percent clip (19-for-65) from the floor. Lincoln Memorial — second in Division II in rebounding margin — posted a 46-36 advantage on the glass.
Jones followed up his 22-point outburst against Newberry with a team-leading 17 points. Jones was the catalyst for LMU’s dominant second half, scoring a game-high 10 points in the second frame which saw the Railsplitters out-score the Cavaliers, 45-24. Jones went seven-of-10 from the field while adding four rebounds and three assists.
Fellow senior Vincent Bailey added 16 points, all of which came in the opening half, and seven rebounds. Curtis Webb sparked the Railsplitters off the bench with 11 points, five boards and four assists, and Curtis McMillion also added to LMU’s second unit with nine points, five rebounds and three blocks in 18 minutes of action. Tim Pierce chimed in with eight points and Keenan Peterson finished with seven points and seven boards.
Lincoln Memorial overcame a monster outing by UVa-Wise’s Deon Boyce, who poured in a game-high 22 points while also grabbing a game-leading 16 boards. The Cavalier big man put in 17 points and nine boards in the opening half before a defensive adjustment limited him to only five points in the second frame. James Turner and Charles George backed Boyce’s effort with eight points apiece.
The Railsplitters commanded the paint, finishing with a 46-22 advantage on points inside the square. Lincoln Memorial’s reserves compiled a 33-11 edge in bench output, while 10 Cavalier turnovers were converted into 17 Railsplitter points.
LMU returns to Tex Turner Arena and South Atlantic Conference play after the calendar flips to 2014, welcoming the Lenoir-Rhyne University Bears on Jan. 4. at 8 p.m.