Photos by Jamie H. Vaught
HARROGATE, Tenn. -- Jalen Steele (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Luquon Choice (Laurens, S.C.) scored 19 points apiece to help the No. 19 Railsplitters (12-2, 8-0 SAC) knock the No. 8 Queens Royals (12-1, 6-1 SAC) from the ranks of the unbeatens 86-76 in a 40-minute South Atlantic Conference slugfest on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 9, at Tex Turner Arena. The win marks Lincoln Memorial's first against a Top 10 nationally-ranked program in the school's NCAA Division II era, as the Railsplitters gave themselves some breathing room in the race for the SAC regular-season championship by improving to 8-0 in league play and handing the Royals their first conference loss.
Click here for Box Score A physically grueling game from the opening tip, every shot, rebound and pass was challenged with contact. Lincoln Memorial finished with a narrow 41-35 rebounding edge and grabbed 13 offensive boards. The two teams combined to get whistled for 43 fouls, with the Railsplitters drawing the short end of that stick with 24 personal fouls. "We knew going in that it was going to be a big-boy game," said LMU head men's basketball coach Josh Schertz (pictured, above). "Queens is very big, athletic and talented. We wanted to try to match their physicality and I thought aside from the first couple of minutes we did a really good job of that." The Railsplitters finished shooting 45.5 percent (30-for-66) from the field and connected on 11 of their 21 three-point attempts for a 52.4 percent mark from deep. Charlotte-based Queens shot 45.2 percent (28-for-62), but went just 6-of-22 from three-point range for a dismal 27.3 percent clip.
"I was proud of how we fought," Schertz said. "I thought we really competed for the entire 40 minutes. We didn't play great in every segment, but we really competed, fought and played for each other." Quick Hits The Railsplitters improved to 8-1 all-time against Queens and remained perfect against the Royals (6-0) since they joined the South Atlantic Conference for the 2013-14 season...The win was LMU's first against a ranked opponent since beating 21st-ranked Newberry 100-81 at Tex Turner Arena on December 15, 2014...Lincoln Memorial's bench outscored Queens' bench 26-17...Queens scored 38 of their 76 points in the paint, while 60 of LMU's 86 points were scored outside of the paint, including 33 points from three...After briefly trailing, the Railsplitters led for the final 37 minutes of regulation. All told, LMU led for 98.4 percent of the game Up Next The Railsplitters host the Anderson Trojans in South Atlantic Conference action on Wednesday, January 13, with tip-off scheduled for 8 p.m. at Tex Turner Arena. Lincoln Memorial has won four straight against the Trojans, who slipped to 3-5 in SAC play with an 83-80 loss at Lenoir-Rhyne Saturday.