No. 4 LMU moves to 10-0 with 88-65 win over Wingate
Published 5:31 pm Thursday, December 14, 2017
HARROGATE, Tenn. — The No. 4 Railsplitters (10-0, 4-0 SAC) rode a strong defensive effort to hand Wingate (4-6, 2-1 SAC) its first South Atlantic Conference loss of the season with a hard-fought 88-65 victory on Wednesday evening at Tex Turner Arena.
Lincoln Memorial, which improves to 10-0 to start a season for the fourth time since the beginning of the 2010-11 campaign, equaled its lowest offensive output of the season, but limited the Bulldogs to just 35 percent shooting, including a 7-for-28 effort (25 percent) from three-point range. The Railsplitters shot 57 percent but also finished with a season-low 58 attempts against a Wingate team that plays at the slowest pace in the SAC.
“They definitely took the air out of the ball, slowed it down, switched a lot of stuff defensively and gave us some different looks,” LMU head coach Josh Schertz said. “I thought we did some good things. We had to grind it out and that’s the way they made the game.
“I thought we really defended well in the first half, but we just kind of got through it in the second half. We weren’t as engaged defensively and had more breakdowns. We didn’t push the pace as well as we needed to and didn’t take advantage of some things that we thought we maybe could have offensively.”
The Railsplitters dominated the first half, surrendering just nine field goals while holding the Bulldogs to 30 percent shooting to take a 42-23 lead into the break. Though Wingate did not prove capable of mounting a comeback in the second half, the Bulldogs did improve drastically offensively shooting 40 percent and playing Lincoln Memorial nearly even – 46-42 – over the final 20 minutes.
“At the end of the day we ground it out and did a good job,” Schertz said. “It’s a good win against a quality opponent. Certainly we are going to take it but we know that we have to play better moving forward.”
Five players combined for 76 of the Railsplitters’ 88 points. Cornelius Taylor led the way with 18 points helped by a 6-for-6 mark at the free-throw line. Trevon Shaw scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half while connecting on 3-of-6 3-pointers.
Dorian Pinson finished three assists shy of a triple-double with 14 points to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds and seven assists, one less than Wingate’s entire team. In his return from a two-game absence, Emanuel Terry pitched in 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks, while Deshawn Patterson scored 13 points in 26 minutes off the bench.
An 8-0 run helped the Railsplitters get off to a fast start and grab a 12-3 lead on a bucket from Patterson with 13:19 left in the first half. The Bulldogs kept within striking distance over the next passage of play, but back-to-back baskets from Pinson and Taylor increased the LMU lead to 37-21 with just over a minute to play. Taylor later buried his second triple of the half to send the Railsplitters into the break with a 19-point lead.
Lincoln Memorial put the game out of reach early in the second half, as a 4-0 run by Taylor made it a 52-27 lead with less than 17 minutes remaining in regulation. Just over a minute later, the Railsplitters’ lead would reach its apex at 57-30 on a bucket by Pinson. The Bulldogs were never able to cut the lead to less than 17 points from that moment on, as Lincoln Memorial cruised to the finish line.
Kerigan Farley led the Bulldogs with 15 points and six rebounds, while Marco Haskins put up 12 points. Kendrick Tucker contributed 11 points in 15 minutes off the bench, while Zeriq Lolar, the team’s second-leading scorer, was limited to seven points on 2-for-11 shooting.
Lincoln Memorial never trailed in the game and led for all but 16 seconds. However, with the lead never reaching higher than 27 points, the Railsplitters had to burden their top players with heavy workloads in the middle of an eight-day stretch with four games.
LMU will have to recharge the batteries quickly in preparation for Saturday’s trip to Newberry and the looming battle against No. 1 nationally-ranked Northwest Missouri State.
“We have to manage our guys. We played a lot of minutes tonight so we will have a lighter day tomorrow,” Schertz said. “Newberry is the most physically demanding game in the league the way they play offensively and defensively. It’s going to take a lot out of our tanks so we have to our tanks on full on Saturday.”
Lincoln Memorial travels to Newberry on Saturday to face the Wolves in South Atlantic Conference action at 4 p.m.