ANDERSON, S.C. — The 15th-ranked Railsplitters led wire-to-wire and staved off a late charge by the Anderson University Trojans to collect a 77-74 win in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Wednesday at the Abney Center.
Lincoln Memorial ran it’s current winning streak to six games and improved to 10-1 overall and 6-1 in SAC play, while Anderson dropped to 9-4 and 4-3.
Wednesday’s win for the Railsplitters avenged a heartbreaking 84-79 overtime loss to the Trojans from Nov. 26 at Tex Turner Arena. Lincoln Memorial, which moved to 3-6 all-time against the Trojans, has now won two straight on Anderson’s home turf.
The Railsplitters compiled a 53.6 percent mark (30-for-56) from the floor, highlighted by an 18-for-30 clip in the opening half, which saw LMU build as large as a 17-point advantage before settling for a 40-33 halftime cushion. The ‘Splitters shot a blistering seven-for-15 from beyond the three-point arc, but struggled from the free-throw line, finishing 10-for-18 (55.6 percent).
Senior Vincent Bailey finished with 24 points behind a 10-for-15 effort from the floor to go along with nine rebounds and a block. Junior Lorenza Ross added to that offensive output with a season-high 17 points on seven-of-10 shooting. Junior Keenan Peterson led all players with 12 boards. Peterson’s efforts led the Railsplitters to a 36-21 advantage on the glass, and he added to his stat ledger with 12 points. Luquon Choice and Chance Jones contributed ten and eight points, respectively.
Anderson had an inverse ratio from the field, going 10-for-26 (38.5 percent) in the first half before responding by hitting 11 of their 21 attempts in the second half. All told, the Trojans finished with a 44.7 percent mark (44.7 percent). Their offensive production was bolstered by a 26-for-32 clip from the charity stripe.
Chandler Hash led all players with 25 points, nearly half of which were accumulated at the free-throw line where he knocked down 12-of-14 attempts. Myson Jones recorded 14 points for the Trojans on four-of-seven shooting, while CJ Gleaton poured in 13 points with a team-high five rebounds. Chris Ross and Tony Dargan pitched in with seven points apiece.
After taking a 40-33 lead into the locker room, the Railsplitters saw the Trojans cut the deficit to 40-36 following a three-point play by Gleaton to open the second half. However, LMU answered with a three-pointer and a lay-up from Choice and a Jones trey to jump back out to a 48-38 advantage with 16:42 to play.
The Railsplitters pulled out to as large as a 14-point lead in the second half, as a bucket and a free throw from Bailey provided LMU with a 60-46 advantage at the 10:46 mark. The Trojans countered once again, rolling off eight-unanswered points to close the gap to 60-54 with just under nine minutes to play, but the Railsplitters regained their foothold on the game with two Bailey free throws and another 3 by Jones to take a 65-54 lead at the 7-minute mark.
Lincoln Memorial was able to hold onto that lead down the stretch, but the Trojans didn’t make it easy. Trailing 71-66 with 1:46 to play, Hash knocked down a free throw and Gleaton rolled in a lay-up to cut the deficit to 71-69 with 50 ticks left on the clock.
In the ensuing possession, the Railsplitters iced the game, running the shot clock all the way down before Ross canned a 3-pointer to catapult LMU in front by five with 17 seconds to play. LMU went only three-for-six from the free-throw line in the final seconds, but Anderson mustered only one shot attempt over that stretch, as LMU survived to top the Trojans.
Lincoln Memorial is scheduled to return to action on Saturday when they host Wingate in a rematch of last year’s SAC title game. The Railsplitters and Bulldogs are slated to tip at 8 p.m.