HARROGATE, Tenn. — Behind a monster second half and four double-digit scorers, the 15th-ranked Railsplitters turned a 35-35 stalemate at halftime into an 81-67 victory over the Wingate in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Saturday night at Tex Turner Arena.
It was the seventh straight win for Lincoln Memorial (11-1, 7-1 in SAC play) while the Bulldogs (8-4, 5-3) drop their thrid in a row.
The ‘Splitters are now 10-9 in the all-time series with Wingate and avenge a 69-53 loss to the Bulldogs in last year’s SAC championship game.
After being limited to only 15-for-37 shooting (40.5 percent) and surrendering a 16-35 flourish (45.7 percent) to the Bulldogs in the opening half, the Railsplitters found themselves locked in a heated 35-35 draw through 20 minutes of action. Lincoln Memorial flipped the script in the second stanza, knocking down 17 of its 31 shots for a 54.8 percent mark on the way to out-scoring the Bulldogs 46-32. Wingate, meanwhile, went 14-36 (38.9 percent) in the second half.
Senior Vincent Bailey posted his third straight 20-point outburst and fifth double-double of the season, leading all players with 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Junior Keenan Peterson provided support for Bailey with 11 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, pacing the ‘Splitters to a 45-38 advantage on the glass. Peterson also figured in defensively with five blocks.
Junior Lorenza Ross recovered from a scoreless first half to contribute 13 points and a game-high six assists, and Curtis Webb sparked the Railsplitters off the bench with 14 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
Forward Deion Turman carried the load for Wingate with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Ryan Daye added 15 points on seven-for-17 shooting. Josh Dominguez and Terrill Hilliard chipped in with 10 points each.
The Railsplitters found themselves facing a 39-38 deficit following a Daye jumper at the 17:41 mark. From there Lincoln Memorial rattled off a 22-10 run over the next 8:26. Tim Pierce capped the spurt with a trey give LMU a 60-49 cushion with 9:15 to play.
The Bulldogs answered with a Hilliard 3-pointer and layup to close the gap to six, but the Railsplitters pushed back in front, 65-54, on a lay-up from Peterson and a three ball from Webb. LMU led by as many as 16 down the stretch before settling for the 81-67 triumph.
The Railsplitters return to the court on Wednesday at Tusculum.