HARROGATE, Tenn. - Trevon Shaw (pictured) knocked down a clutch 12-footer with 0.6 seconds left to cap a furious comeback for the 15th-ranked Railsplitters (22-4, 17-3 SAC) in a heart-stopping 81-79 win over the 10th-ranked Queens Royals (23-3, 17-3 SAC) on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 18 at Tex Turner Arena.
With the win, Lincoln Memorial extended its winning streak to 12 games and moved into a tie for first place in the South Atlantic Conference standings with two games to play. The Royals led by as many as 12 and had a 10-point cushion with less than seven minutes to go, but the Railsplitters held the visitors without a field goal for nearly eight minutes before Shaw, who is from St. Helena Island, S.C., buried the biggest shot of his career in the final seconds. "It was just two really good teams fighting their brains out and matching each other shot for shot and play for play," LMU head coach Josh Schertz said. "We were reeling down 10 with under seven to go and looked like we were maybe about to give way. I'm really proud of how our guys kept competing, kept fighting, kept punching. We showed a lot of resolve, resilience and heart." Queens went 19-for-28 (67.9 percent) from the field in the first half and led by eight points at the break, but the Railsplitters put on a clinic in the second half, holding the nation's ninth-most efficient team to an 11-for-30 (36.7 percent) effort over the final 20 minutes. Lincoln Memorial rode its defense to erase a late 10-point deficit as the Royals made a shot at 8:24 and another with 48 seconds left, but didn't make anything in the middle. "We really tightened up defensively. With a team as good as Queens, they are going to make a lot of difficult plays so you have to take away the easy stuff," Schertz said. "In the first half and for a while we gave them the easy stuff and they made the hard stuff. "Our defense and execution were tremendous late. We really tightened down on the defensive end, which was the opposite of what happened when we down in Charlotte the last time we played in a really similar game." The victory avenged a 103-101 overtime loss at Queens from back on January 9, which was subsequently the Railsplitters' last loss. In that contest, the Royals overcame four different three-point deficits in overtime to defeat Lincoln Memorial. Chris Perry led the Railsplitters with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting with eight rebounds and three steals before fouling out after 27 minutes of work. Luquon Choice scored 15 points with 12 coming in the second half while handing out six assists. Shaw finished with 15 points, three assists and two boards, while Cornelius Taylor scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half. Hunter Spaw added 10 points and four steals in 30 minutes of action, and had the highest plus/minus of any LMU player with a plus-8 impact on the game. For the Railsplitters -- who celebrated Senior Day in a pre-game ceremony, honoring Chris Perry, Luquon Choice, Hunter Spaw and Paul Woodson -- it was their third consecutive Saturday game that has come down to the wire. Schertz noted that Lincoln Memorial has learned from its early-season struggles in close games and has been forged by the fire to produce in those situations. "We lost the three coin flip games that we played through January," said the coach. "The last three weekends we've been in basically a tie game with two to three minutes to go, and we found a way to win all three. It gives you confidence that if you do the right things down the stretch, you're going to give yourself a chance." Schertz also doesn't expect that to be the last time the Railsplitters see the Royals, who are still tied atop the South Atlantic Conference standings and currently the No. 1 ranked team in the region. "It lets you know how good Queens is," he commented. "If we are going to get where we want to go, we have to find ways to continue to get better because I have a hunch that if we're fortunate enough to advance in the SAC tournament or the NCAA Tournament we are going to have to go through them." The Railsplitters host Anderson for their final regular-season home game on Wednesday, February 22 at 8 p.m. Lincoln Memorial defeated the Trojans 94-77 in the first meeting this season back on January 11.