No. 25 Railsplitters Entertain Catawba At Tex Turner Arena Saturday
HARROGATE, Tenn. -- The 25th-ranked Railsplitters (11-4, 6-3 SAC) will play their third game in six days on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 14, when they return to Tex Turner Arena to host the Catawba Indians (10-5, 4-5 SAC) in South Atlantic Conference action at 4 p.m.
Lincoln Memorial is looking to build on a 94-77 win at Anderson on Wednesday night, which the Railsplitters played on just a single day of rest after suffering an overtime loss at No. 3 Queens on Monday. In that win over the Trojans, the Railsplitters dominated the first half, shooting nearly 65 percent while holding Anderson to 38.5 percent shooting to build a commanding 22-point lead. The Trojans fought valiantly in the second half, but Lincoln Memorial never allowed Anderson to get any closer than 11 points. Chris Perry (Bartow, Fla.) had his first double-double of the season with a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds, but Luquon Choice (Laurens, S.C.) was the story of the game. Choice scored 21 points on a 7-for-11 mark from three-point range to surpass Carson-Newman's Ish Sanders for the South Atlantic Conference career three-point record. Choice now has 343 career threes, which is miles from the Division II record of 451 held by Montana State Billings' Cameron Munoz. The Railsplitters have won seven consecutive games and 11 of the last 12 overall against the Catawba Indians, who make the trip to Harrogate having lost two of their last three games. Catawba blew out Brevard by 35 points on January 8, but was handed an 83-77 loss by Queens on January 4 and most recently suffered a 97-82 setback at Wingate. That 15-point loss to Wingate was mostly an aberration, while the loss to Queens was much more indicative of how good Catawba can be, as the Indians trailed the No. 3 ranked team in the nation by just three points with 20 seconds to go before ultimately succumbing late. It was one of several close losses this season for Catawba, who fell in double overtime to Lenoir-Rhyne, lost by eight at Coker and lost by seven at Carson-Newman. The Indians are a solid offensive team that ranks sixth in the SAC in points per game (84.3) and fifth in field-goal percentage (45.9 percent). Catawba attempts the third-most shots per game in the SAC with 67.3 and gets to the free throw line more than 25 times per game. In spite of all that, the Indians pose almost no threat from three-point range, as they rank last in the SAC in threes per game, three-point attempts and three-point percentage. Catawba hangs its hat on the defensive end of the floor, though, as the Indians are allowing just 78.4 points on 42.3 percent shooting and a 34.1 percent mark from three-point range, ranking third in the SAC in all three of those categories. Catawba is also solid on the backboards, ranking second in the league in total rebounds per game (42.6) and fourth in rebounding margin (+3.5). Four players are averaging double figures for the Indians. Jameel Taylor leads that quartet with 19.2 points per game on 50.5 percent shooting while also handing out a team-high 62 assists and grabbing 5.9 rebounds per game. KJ Arrington, who missed all of the 2015-16 campaign due to injury, has returned to average 17.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while Jerrin Morrison is putting up 14.8 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game. Malik Constantine, who also missed out on most of last season, is averaging 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, but has only made seven sporadic appearances. Taylor has been on a tear of late for the Indians, as he scored 28 and lofted up 20 shots at Wingate and also put up 24 points in the loss to Queens. Morrison has also been steady with double figures in six of his last seven games. He scored 16 in the loss at Wingate to join Taylor and Arrington as members of Catawba's 1000-point club. The Railsplitters swept the regular-season series from Catawba in 2015-16, winning 95-73 at home and 82-64 on the road. In that 22-point win over the Indians in the regular-season finale, the Railsplitters shot 49 percent and led by as many as 27 points. The Indians were without both Arrington and Constantine, though, as Taylor led Catawba with 20 points. Choice had 13 points and six rebounds, while Dorian Pinson (Greenville, S.C.) piled up 10 points and six boards. Live stats, video and audio links for Saturday's game will be available at www.LMURailsplitters.com. Five things to watch for against Catawba 1. The Railsplitters have won eight straight home games against Catawba since last losing to the Indians in Tex Turner Arena in February 2008. None of those eight straight wins has been particularly close, either, as an 80-73 victory in 2010 was the narrowest margin of victory. 2. After Saturday's game, the Railsplitters won't be back at Tex Turner Arena until January 25 when they host arch-rival Carson-Newman. 3. Catawba has really struggled on the offensive end on the road this season, shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 25.8 percent from three. The Indians are 3-3 on the road and have lost two of their last three road trips. 4. The Indians can create havoc on the defensive end, as they average 7.2 steals and 3.7 blocks per game. Taylor leads Catawba with 2.0 steals per game, while Constantine leads the way with 1.3 blocks per appearance. 5. Lincoln Memorial - the four-time defending SAC regular-season champions - is looking to keep pace with Queens, who has a three-game lead in the standings. The Railsplitters are tied with Newberry and Carson-Newman for second place at 6-3, while Queens is a perfect 9-0.
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