HARROGATE, Tenn. — The 20th-ranked Railsplitters led wire-to-wire and fended off a late rally to capture a 75-68 victory over the Tornado of King College in nonconference men’s basketball action on Sunday at Tex Turner Arena. With the win, Lincoln Memorial rebounds from their first loss of the season and moves to 7-1 on the year. The Tornado fall from the ranks of the unbeaten with the loss, dropping to 7-1.
The Railsplitters continued a theme which has been a constant throughout the 2012-13 campaign by limiting the Tornado to 38.9-percent shooting from the field while hitting at a 50-percent clip themselves. Lincoln Memorial came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, jumping in front 7-0 on a jumper from Vincent Bailey at the 16:20 mark of the first half. The Railsplitters extended their lead to 11-2 with a slam by Jake Troyli, assisted by Lorenza Ross, with 14:53 left in the frame.
The Tornado briefly countered with five-straight points, capped with a pair of free throws from Jason Seymore to cut the deficit to 11-7. LMU answered with an 11-3 run, highlighted by four-straight points from Bailey, to take a 22-10 lead with 10:49 on the game clock.
Lincoln Memorial held to a double-digit advantage for a large portion of the ensuing minutes, grabbing a 30-20 lead with a three-pointer from Wally Jones with 6:53 on the clock. Five straight points from Aaron Wheeler brought King within five at 30-25 with 4:07 in the frame. But the Railsplitters would close the half on 7-4 run, highlighted by another Troyli dunk, to take a 37-29 lead into the break.
The Railsplitters came out of the locker room to start the second half by firing off a 9-2 run, paced by four points from Bailey, to take a 46-31 lead with 16:41 left in regulation.
Lincoln Memorial led by double-digits until Malcolm St. Louis tipped in a Tornado miss to cut the Railsplitters’ advantage to 58-49 with 9:34 to play. Michael Fortune drained a three-pointer in the next Tornado possession to make it a six-point game, however, Troyli scored on consecutive possessions for the Railsplitters to push the lead back to 62-52 by the 8:06 mark.
The Tornado made their final push of the contest with a 5-0 run, capped by a three from Logan Lyle, to make it 66-61 with 2:43 to play. LMU answered with a 5-0 spurt of their own and Troyli sealed the game at the charity stripe for the Railsplitters by draining a pair of free throws with 10 seconds remaining en route to a 75-68 victory.
Senior Wally Jones led all players in the contest with 21 points, marked by a 6-9 effort from the three. He also grabbed five rebounds and notched one steal and one block in 34 minutes of action.
Troyli and Bailey were the catalysts for a 40-26 advantage in the paint and a 36-32 margin of victory on the glass for the Railsplitters. Troyli poured in 18 points and narrowly missed recording a double-double with nine rebounds in 37 minutes of action. He also boasted three assists and a block. Bailey was limited to only 17 minutes on the court due to foul trouble but still found a way to notch 15 points, on 5-6 shooting from the floor, and seven rebounds.
The Railsplitters tallied 17 assists on 28 baskets, headlined by a game-high six assists from sophomore Lorenza Ross. Ross also scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds. Eight different players scored for the Railsplitters on the afternoon.
King was paced by Eddie Piccinini’s 18 points, as the guard finished 4-12 from the field. Jason Seymore finished with a 16-point, 10-rebound performance to notch a double-double for the Tornado, while Wheeler added 13 points off the bench.
The Railsplitters now direct their attention towards Augusta State University, as LMU is poised for a nonconference battle with regional and national implications on the line against the Jaguars in Augusta, Ga., on Wednesday. Augusta State is the last remaining unbeaten team in the Southeast Region and earned the No. 15 ranking in the most recent NABC/Division II national poll. That game is set to tip at 7:30 p.m. in the Christenberry Fieldhouse.