KANSAS CITY, Mo — The Lincoln Memorial University men’s basketball team remained a presence in the NABC/Division II Poll, as they moved to No. 20 in this week’s national rankings. The Railsplitters are off to a 6-1 start with an upcoming slate of games against regionally and nationally recognized foes.
Lincoln Memorial held their spot among the top-25 despite suffering an 81-80 overtime loss at the University of Virginia-Wise this past Saturday. The Railsplitters took an 11-point lead into the locker room and clung to a five-point advantage with 2:33 left in regulation but the Cavaliers upended the ‘Splitters with clutch shooting from the field in regulation and at the free throw line in overtime.
With their appearance in this week’s NABC/Division II Men’s Basketball Poll, the Railsplitters extended their program record to 33-consecutive weeks ranked in the Top-25. The Railsplitters broke into the NABC poll for the first time in school history on Dec. 8, 2010, after opening with a 7-0 start. LMU has not been absent from the rankings since that date, shattering the South Atlantic Conference record previously held by Wingate University of 21-consecutive weeks ranked among the top-25 nationally.
The Railsplitters have boasted a balanced offensive attack this season with four players holding double-digit scoring averages and two more sitting just below that mark. The front court has been bolstered this season by the production of Jake Troyli, Vincent Bailey and Dustin Craig. Troyli, a product of Largo, Fla., headlines that group with a team-leading 14.6 points per game on a 51-percent mark from the field. The senior is also reigning in 4.7 boards per outing. Bailey, a junior from Jennings, Fla., has returned from injury to spark the Railsplitters with 12.3 points per appearance and a team-leading eight boards per game. Craig, another senior from Knoxville, has seen an increase in production with nine points and seven rebounds per game.
The LMU backcourt is highlighted by the offensive efforts of Wally Jones, Lorenza Ross and Cam Carden. Jones, a senior from Greensboro, N.C., has been a steady influence, pouring in 13.1 points and ranking second on the team with 21 assists. He also leads the team with 17 made three-pointers on a 46-percent clip from beyond the arc.
Ross, a sophomore from Savannah, Ga., has tallied 10.4 points per game, while Carden, a senior from Clearwater, Fla., is sitting at 9.9 points per appearance. Carden leads the team with 22 assists and has only committed 10 turnovers despite leading the team in minutes played (231). His 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fifth among all players in the South Atlantic Conference.
The Railsplitters are scoring 86.1 points per game and limiting their foes to only 64.3 this season. LMU has compiled a 50-percent mark from the field and forces their opponents into committing 15.4 turnovers a contest.
Lincoln Memorial is primed for arguably their toughest portion of the schedule in the next week. They are slated to host King College on Sunday at 4 p.m. and visit Augusta State University on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. King sits just outside of the top-25 poll at No. 26 while Augusta State is ranked 15th.