Railsplitters Extend Winning Streak to Four
HARROGATE, Tenn. — The inside duo of Jake Troyli and Vincent Bailey combined for 37 points and 16 rebounds to lead the 12th-ranked Railsplitters to a wire-to-wire 60-58 victory over the Wingate University Bulldogs in a showdown of top teams in the South Atlantic Conference on Saturday evening. Lincoln Memorial University (14-2, 7-1 SAC) moved into a three-way tie for the top-spot in the league standings and extended their winning streak to four with the victory, while Wingate (11-5, 7-1 SAC) was handed their first loss in SAC play this season.
The ‘Splitters finished the contest with a 42.1 percent effort (24-57) from the floor, posting a 17-32 mark in the first half of play to go into the locker room leading, 42-33. In the second half, LMU struggled to find their offensive rhythm, only connecting on seven of their 25 shot attempts, but held on to take the win over the Bulldogs.
Senior Jake Troyli was once again magnificent, as he compiled a game-high 20 points while reigning in eight rebounds and notching three blocks in 39 minutes of action. Troyli scored at least 20 points for the third straight game. Running mate Vincent Bailey was also stellar in the win, adding 17 points on 8-9 shooting and matching Troyli with eight boards. Senior Dustin Craig came off the bench for eight points and a game-high nine rebounds. The Railsplitters held 37-30 edge on the glass. Freshman Tim Pierce added seven points in 25 minutes of action for LMU.
Ryan Daye was the catalyst for the Bulldog attack, as he compiled 18 points on 7-13 shooting and a 3-4 effort from long-range in 30 minutes of action. Jeff Parker came off the bench and led the Wingate second unit with 14 points in only 17 minutes of action. Parker was the headliner of a 16-11 advantage for the Bulldogs in bench scoring. Deion Turman also made a significant impact, turning in 10 points and eight boards. Odell Turner was limited to seven points and seven boards in 25 minutes of action.
The Railsplitters stormed out to a 9-0 advantage following a pair of Bailey layups, a jumper by Troyli and a three-point play by Pierce in the first two and a half minutes. The Bulldogs would go scoreless until Ethan Kincaid broke that drought with a jumper at the 17:08 mark of the first half to make it 9-2. Wingate got as close as five points around the midway point of the half, but the Railsplitters responded by scoring five unanswered points to assume a double-digit lead by 8:16 mark
A tip-in by Craig pushed the lead to 35-24 with 5:35 left in the half and a jumper by Pierce sent LMU into the break up 42-33.
A quick basket from Bailey put the Railsplitters back up by 11 early in the second half, but Wingate reeled off 10 straight points with a Parker jumper closing the gap to 44-43 with 15:10 to play.
At the 14:13 mark, Wally Jones ended a five-minute scoring drought for LMU with a jumper to extend their lead back to 46-43. A Troyli jumper at the 11:23 mark and a Lorenza Ross free throw put the lead at 49-43.
After Turner nailed a jumper for the Bulldogs with 3:23 to play, Daye broke a two-minute scoring drought for both teams with a three-pointer at the 1:11 mark to make it 60-58 in favor of the Railsplitters. LMU came up empty in their ensuing possession, giving the Bulldogs the ball with 28 seconds left to play. Following three-consecutive missed jumpers, the product of three offensive rebounds for Wingate over the final 11 seconds, Turman was fouled and sent to the line with a chance to knot the game. Turman would go on to miss his first attempt, forcing the Bulldogs to intentionally miss their second attempt and hope for a tip-in. That was not to be, however, as Turman’s attempt went wide and Keenan Peterson reigned in the defensive board to cap the win.
The Railsplitters will look to continue their strong play this upcoming week, as they welcome in-state rival Tusculum College to town for a SAC battle with the Pioneers. That game is set to tip at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.