No. 4 LMU starts fast in 91-73 win
Published 5:30 pm Friday, December 1, 2017
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — The No. 4 Railsplitters (6-0, 1-0 SAC) dominated the first half and controlled the paint to defeat the rival Tusculum Pioneers (2-5, 0-1 SAC) for the 22nd consecutive time with a 91-73 victory in the South Atlantic Conference opener at Pioneer Arena on Wednesday night.
Lincoln Memorial never trailed in the contest and established a 31-point lead at the half to move to 8-2 in SAC openers under head coach Josh Schertz. The Railsplitters entered SAC play as winners of five consecutive conference regular-season titles and six of the last seven overall.
“It’s always good to come on the road and get a win against a quality team,” LMU head coach Josh Schertz said. “I thought we were pretty locked in the first 23 minutes and the last 17 minutes you have to give Tusculum all of the credit. They absolutely controlled the game during that stretch. We are not at the point yet as a team where we can step on someone when we have them down. That requires a type of psychological disposition we have yet to demonstrate.”
All five LMU starters reached double figures. Trevon Shaw led the way with a game-high 21 points on a 6-of-12 mark from three while adding five rebounds and two assists. Emanuel Terry logged his third double-double of the season with 20 points and 11 rebounds to go along with two blocks and a pair of steals.
Dorian Pinson also posted a double-double – his third of the year – with 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Josh Odem had a season-high 14 points and nine boards, while Cornelius Taylor chipped in 12 points. Deshawn Patterson pitched in a team-leading six assists with eight points in 21 minutes off the bench.
The Railsplitters shot 50 percent for the game and went 11-for-25 from three-point territory for a 44 percent clip. Tusculum, meanwhile, shot 42 percent and finished 12-for-32 from deep for a 37.5 percent mark.
The Pioneers did most of their work offensively in the second half, as Lincoln Memorial dominated nearly every aspect of the first frame. Through the first 20 minutes, the Railsplitters connected on 54 percent of their shots and hit 8-of-14 from behind the arc. On the other end of the court, Lincoln Memorial held the home team to just 22 points on 28 percent shooting, including a 3-for-16 effort from three.
With Terry and Pinson leading the charge, the Railsplitters also overpowered the Pioneers in the interior, outscoring Tusculum 44-22 around the hoop.
Odem drained a three to put the Railsplitters on the board first in their wire-to-wire victory, and Lincoln Memorial quickly pull ahead 12-3 on a bucket from Pinson before the under-16 media timeout. A 3-pointer from Shaw and a basket from Patterson continued the Railsplitters’ fast start and made it a 22-8 game with 12 minutes left in the half.
After Tusculum cut the deficit to 27-15 on a layup from Elon Smallwood with 9:14 left in the half, the Pioneers would go scoreless for nearly seven minutes while the Railsplitters went on a 19-0 run. Seven different players would score during that flurry, which included a pair of Shaw threes, that gave Lincoln Memorial a commanding 46-15 cushion. Taylor buried a 3-pointer with 49 ticks left to send LMU into the break with a 53-22 lead.
Tusculum turned it around in the second half, scoring 51 points on almost 60 percent shooting. The Pioneers buried nine of their 16 second-half three-point tries, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome that 31-point deficit.
The Railsplitters were most threatened when Tusculum trimmed the deficit to 76-58 on a pair of free throws with 8:42 left, but buckets by Pinson and Odem quickly pushed the lead by to 22 with seven and a half minutes remaining.
From there, Lincoln Memorial would extend the lead back to as many as 27 points before the Pioneers ended the game on a 9-1 run to cut the final margin to 18.
Zach Hartle led Tusculum with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting while Malik Tyree added 10 points in 11 minutes off the bench. Lincoln Memorial limited the Pioneers’ leading scorer, Peyton Woods, to just one point in 18 minutes.
The Railsplitters return to Tex Turner Arena on Saturday to host Catawba in SAC action at 4 p.m. The Indians fell to 2-3 on Wednesday night with an 83-65 loss at Queens.