HARROGATE, Tenn. -- The 12th-ranked Railsplitters (15-2, 11-0 SAC) needed a blistering seven-minute stretch in the second half and a game-high 24 points from Luquon Choice (Laurens, S.C.) to overcome the Tusculum Pioneers (7-9, 3-8 SAC) 82-77 in South Atlantic Conference men's hoops action on Thursday night, Jan. 21, at Tex Turner Arena.
Lincoln Memorial remained unbeaten in SAC play, topped Tusculum for the 16th straight time and improved to 125-42 all-time against the Pioneers in the 167th meeting between the two programs, but it was far from easy.
For most of the night, the Railsplitters struggled to get into any kind of rhythm offensively, shooting 43.5 percent (27-for-62) from the field, including a 40 percent effort in the first half that was marred by a 3-for-15 clip (20 percent) from three-point range.
"They guarded us by not guarding us if that makes any sense," LMU head men's basketball coach Josh Schertz said. "They were playing off of us and giving up wide open threes trying to take away the dribble drive. We were wide open in the first half and couldn't score. But we knocked down a few in the second half and that was the difference."
The Railsplitters overcame a seven-point second-half deficit by shooting 48.1 percent in the second stanza, including a 9-for-17 mark (52.9 percent) from deep and a 15-for-21 clip (71.4 percent) at the charity stripe.
"At some point you have to take what the defense gives you and you have to make shots. We have good shooters," Schertz said. "They decided to play in that indecisive area and take away the paint because we are quicker than them. The shots were similar in both halves, but it made us indecisive and we struggled to make the right basketball plays in the first half. In the second half we were more decisive and aggressive shooting the ball."
Choice cashed in 8-of-14 from the field and 5-of-9 from three-point range to lead all scorers with 24 points. He paired that with four assists, two rebounds and two steals. Jalen Steele (Knoxville, Tenn.) added 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting while matching a team-high mark with eight rebounds. Gerel Simmons (Accokeek, Md.) and Curtis Webb (pictured) of Spartanburg, S.C., contributed 13 points apiece with five combined three-pointers.
Quick Hits The game featured eight ties and six lead changes...Tusculum outrebounded the Railsplitters 40-36 and assisted on 20 of their 29 field goals. Lincoln Memorial notched 14 assists on 27 baskets...The Railsplitters accounted for 17 points off of 17 Tusculum turnovers...Webb scored all 13 of his points in the second half and went 3-for-5 from long range to help fuel the victory...Curtis McMillion (Fayetteville, N.C.) matched Steele for the team lead in rebounds with eight. He added two blocks...The two teams finished dead even in points in the paint with 20 apiece...The Railsplitters improved to 73-11 all-time at home against Tusculum
Up Next The Railsplitters venture to Hartsville, S.C. for a 4 p.m. tip-off against the Coker Cobras on Saturday, January 23. Lincoln Memorial defeated Coker 72-58 in the first meeting between the two teams back on December 5 at Tex Turner Arena.
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Hot shooting, second-quarter run pushes Lady Railsplitters past Tusculum 72-57
A torrential shooting performance paired with a long second-quarter run powered the Lady Railsplitters (10-6, 7-4 SAC) to a 72-57 triumph over the Tusculum Pioneers (7-7, 5-6 SAC) in South Atlantic Conference women's hoops action on Thursday night at Tex Turner Arena.
Lincoln Memorial finished with its second-highest field-goal percentage of the season, knocking down 27-of-53 for a 50.9 percent clip. The Lady Railsplitters accomplished that on the offensive end while holding the Pioneers to 37 percent (20-for-54) shooting, including a dreadful 2-for-11 effort (18.2 percent) from three-point range.
Britney Guy (Locust Grove, Ga.) and Shea Coker (Knoxville, Tenn.) paced the Lady Railsplitters with 16 points apiece. Guy went 8-for-9 from the charity stripe coupled with four rebounds and three assists, while Coker connected on 7-of-9 field goals to go along with a pair of assists. Ross Mathis (Greer, S.C.) also checked into double figures with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from three. Megan Pittman (Liberty, Ky.) produced eight points, while Kortnay Cox (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led LMU with eight rebounds.
The Lady Railsplitters return to action on Saturday, January 23, when they make the 350-mile trek to Hartsville, S.C. to take on the Coker Cobras. That game is scheduled to tip off at 2 p.m.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught