CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Behind an absolutely suffocating defensive performance, the fourth-ranked Railsplitters (24-2, 20-0 SAC) defeated the sixth-ranked Queens Royals (23-3, 17-3 SAC) 92-66 in wire-to-wire fashion to clinch their fourth consecutive South Atlantic Conference regular season championship on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Curry Arena in Charlotte, N.C. The victory pushed Lincoln Memorial's winning streak to 14 and moved the Railsplitters one step closer to running the table in conference play.
Queens entered Saturday's contest ranked sixth in the nation and second in the region while riding a nine-game winning streak and a 13-game home winning streak dating back to last season, but the Railsplitters took command of the Southeast Region by stonewalling the Royals' offense, which came into the game ranked second in the country in field-goal percentage with a 52.4 percent mark. Lincoln Memorial completely locked down Queens, holding them to a season-low 28.6 percent shooting (16-for-56) including a dreadful 4-for-26 clip (15.4 percent) from three-point range. It marked the first time the Royals have been held below 30 percent shooting since they joined the SAC before the 2013-14 season. With the win, the Railsplitters secured their fourth consecutive SAC regular season title and fifth in the past six seasons. In the 26-year history of the SAC, no team had ever even won three straight regular season league championships until Lincoln Memorial accomplished that feat last season. Four of LMU's five starters finished in double figures, led by Gerel Simmons' (Accokeek, Md.) game-high 26 points on 8-of-15 shooting paired with five rebounds. Jalen Steele (Knoxville, Tenn.) logged 16 points, five rebounds and a pair of steals, while Luquon Choice (Laurens, S.C.) put up 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Dorian Pinson (Greenville, S.C.) posted 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. Curtis McMillion (pictured) of Fayetteville, N.C., contributed eight points and six boards in 17 minutes off of the bench. The Railsplitters finished shooting 53.8 percent (35-for-65) from the field, 37.5 percent (9-for-24) from the three and 72.2 percent (13-for-18) from the charity stripe. The win moved Lincoln Memorial to 41-1 in SAC play over the past two seasons, while the Railsplitters also nabbed their 23rd straight conference road victory. Lincoln Memorial begins the final week of the regular season with a trip to Anderson, S.C. on Wednesday to face the Anderson Trojans at 8 p.m. The Trojans are out of the playoff hunt at 5-15 in SAC play but are coming off of an upset win over Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday.
Turnovers Costly in LMU Women's Setback at Queens
A combination of 23 turnovers and 37 percent shooting proved to be too much for the Lady Railsplitters (15-10, 12-8 SAC) to overcome as they fell 58-52 at Queens (5-20, 3-17 SAC) Saturday afternoon. Britney Guy (Locust Grove, Ga.) led the way for LMU with nine points while Megan Pittman (Liberty, Ky.) and Shea Coker (Knoxville, Tenn.) had eight points apiece. Pittman also led LMU on the boards with eight rebounds. The Lady Railsplitters will make their last road trip of the regular season as they travel to Anderson Wednesday for a 6 p.m. contest. The Trojans currently sit in first place in the SAC and are coming off a 61-44 win over Lenoir-Rhyne earlier today.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught