HARROGATE, Tenn. -- The third-ranked Railsplitters (26-2, 22-0 SAC) completed the first perfect South Atlantic Conference season in the 25-year history of the league on Saturday evening, Feb. 27, at Tex Turner Arena, tidying up the regular-season schedule with a 95-73 victory over the Catawba Indians (12-16, 10-12 SAC). With the win, Lincoln Memorial wraps up regular-season play with its 16th straight win and 29th consecutive SAC victory.
"I'm just awed by our guys to be able to run the table in this league in arguably the best year of the South Atlantic Conference in terms of how tough it is from top to bottom," said LMU head men's basketball coach Josh Schertz (pictured). "I told the guys it's been an honor and a privilege to have a courtside seat and watch them perform. Not only have they won, but to have the enthusiasm and the joy they play with is remarkable."
The Railsplitters become the first team in SAC history in 50 combined seasons on either the men's or women's side to finish with an unbeaten conference record. Lincoln Memorial also broke its own single-season record for conference wins, which was set by the 2014-15 team that went 21-1.
"To accomplish what they have accomplished, the talent and chemistry obviously have to be there," Schertz said. "But along with that, unbelievable heart, an unbelievable amount of intelligence and a remarkable competitive will have to be there. It's all of those things. It's so uncommon to have all of those qualities but our guys have them all."
Gerel Simmons (Accokeek, Md.) led all players with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting to go along with five rebounds. Jalen Steele (Knoxville, Tenn.) scored 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range to go along with six rebounds and two assists. Dorian Pinson (Greenville, S.C.) piled up 10 points, six rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes of work, while Curtis McMillion (Fayetteville, N.C.) had nine points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Luquon Choice (Laurens, S.C.) posted 13 points and went 3-for-5 from three-point range to break LMU's single-season record for three-pointers, which he set last season with 100. Now at 101 triples this season, Choice is just the second player in SAC history to can 100 threes in two different seasons. He also added six rebounds, two assists and two steals to his final stat ledger.
The Railsplitters shot 48.6 percent (35-for-72) from the field and knocked down 13-of-25 (52 percent) from three-point range. Lincoln Memorial also converted 12 of its 16 free-throw attempts for a 75 percent clip. On the other end of the floor, the Railsplitters held the Indians to 37.3 percent (25-for-67) shooting, including a 3-for-13 mark (23.1 percent) from the three. A huge portion of Catawba's points came at the charity stripe, where they went 20-for-24.
Jameel Taylor led the Indians with 20 points on 7-of-18 shooting, while Rakeen Brown and Jerrin Morrison scored 11 points apiece.
With the regular season now complete, Lincoln Memorial opens the South Atlantic Conference Tournament on Wednesday night, as the top-seeded Railsplitters welcome the eight-seeded Tusculum Pioneers to Tex Turner Arena for quarterfinal round action. The Railsplitters enter the SAC Tournament looking for their third SAC tournament championship over the past six seasons.
That game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for $5 apiece through the LMU ticket box office.
Lady Railsplitters clinch fifth seed in SAC Tournament with 62-58 come-from-behind Win over Catawba
A three-pointer by senior Britney Guy (Locust Grove, Ga.) gave the Lady Railsplitters (16-11, 13-9 SAC) the lead with 6:15 remaining and they would never relinquish it as they came from behind to defeat Catawba (15-13, 12-10 SAC) Saturday afternoon, Feb. 27, in the Tex Turner Arena. The win gives the Lady Railsplitters the fifth-place berth in the upcoming South Atlantic Conference Tournament. LMU was led by Kiara Rawls (Killeen, Texas) with 14 points. Guy had 13 points and Megan Pittman (Liberty, Ky.) added in 10 points. Kortnay Cox (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led all players on the boards with 13 rebounds. LMU shot 35.5% (22-62 for the game from the field, 25% (4-16) from three-point range and 87.5% (14-16) from the free throw line. The Lady Railsplitters out-rebounded Catawba 49-35 and had 21 second-chance points to Catawba's 16. Quick Hits It was Senior Night, and LMU said goodbye to the five seniors before the game. Seniors Guy, Cox, Kelly, Rawls and Lakeshia Beasley (College Park, Ga.) all made the start in their final appearance in the Tex Turner Arena.... The four three-pointers by Guy tied her career high for made three-pointers.... LMU is now 9-11 against Catawba all-time and 7-3 against the Indians in the Tex Turner Arena.... This marks the second time that LMU has swept Catawba in the regular season. The other time was in the 2013-14 season.... LMU coach Krystal is 2-0 on Senior Night as last year's team defeated Wingate 63-60.... LMU makes the SAC Tournament field for the fifth consecutive season and for nine out of the ten seasons they have been in the SAC. Up Next The Lady Railsplitters will travel to Mars Hill to face the Lions in the quarterfinal round of the SAC Tournament on Tuesday. The Lions earned the fourth seed after they lost at Lenoir-Rhyne earlier today. This will be the first time the two teams have met in the SAC Tournament.
Photo by LMU Athletics