HARROGATE, Tenn. — The 13th-ranked Railsplitters exacted some revenge on Wednesday, lighting up the nets with a season-high 12 three-pointers to run the Carson-Newman Eagles out of Tex Turner Arena, 77-60, in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action.
Lincoln Memorial University (23-2, 19-2 SAC), who claimed a seat on the SAC regular-season throne last Saturday, extended its winning streak to six games while snapping the Eagles’ (18-7, 15-6 SAC) seven game flurry. The Railsplitters also avenged one of its two losses this season as Carson-Newman — ranked sixth in the newest Southeast Region poll — collected a 79-77 win in Jefferson City just three weeks ago.
In front of a raucous crowd of more than 2,000, the Railsplitters stormed out of the gate by hitting five three-pointers in the opening 6:30, running out to an early 17-11 advantage. Back-to-back three-pointers by Luquon Choice at the 9:38 mark extended the LMU advantage to 29-16, and that was only the beginning as the Railsplitters plowed out to a 39-20 lead with only 5:41 left in the first half.
The Railsplitters allowed the Eagles to shoot 46.7 percent in the opening half, but offset that by going 19-for-33 from the floor (57.6 percent) with a gaudy 8-for-13 clip from beyond the three-point arc. By virtue of that effort, Lincoln Memorial carried a 46-34 lead into the break.
Lincoln Memorial came off of that torrent pace and lagged tremendously early in the second half, scoring only two points — Vincent Bailey free throws — in the first 6:08. That drought paced an 11-2 run that brought Carson-Newman to within three points at 48-45 with 13:52 to play.
Redshirt-freshman Curtis Webb almost single-handedly carried LMU through that dry spell, canning three three-pointers in 2:33 to propel the Railsplitters back in front, 59-49, by the 10:50 mark. Following Webb’s aerial assault, the Railsplitters never trailed by less than eight and plowed out to as large as a 19-point advantage. Lincoln Memorial limited Carson-Newman to only two field goals in the final eight minutes of regulation.
The Railsplitters finished shooting 42.6 percent (26-for-61), but a season-high 12 three-pointers lifted the offense while a 13-for-16 effort at the free-throw line bolstered the offensive output. Lorenza Ross led all players with 15 points on 3-of-4 shooting from deep, while dishing out a game-high six assists. Chance Jones poured in 13 points in 25 minutes, while Webb and Choice combined for six of LMU’s 12 three-pointers to score 11 points apiece. Bailey had his lowest scoring game of the season, but still contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Eagles finished shooting 40 percent with a 22-for-55 mark from the field. Carson-Newman’s dynamic duo of Ishmael Sanders and Antoine Davis came into Wednesday’s contest averaging nearly 40 points combined per game, and the Railsplitters limited those two to 21 points. Sanders scored 14 on 5-of-12 shooting, while Davis was held to only seven points with a 3-for-10 mark. Jared Johnson contributed 13 points, Sawyer Williams scored 12 and Carson Brooks tallied 11 points with seven rebounds.
Lincoln Memorial is set to complete the regular-season schedule on Saturday, welcoming the Catawba Indians to Tex Turner Arena for an 8 p.m. SAC game. Prior to the start of Saturday’s contest, the Railsplitters will honor seniors Vincent Bailey and Chance Jones for Senior Day. After the game, the Railsplitters will cut down the nets to recognize the 2013-14 SAC regular-season championship.