Taylor dazzles as No. 6 Railsplitters pummel Anderson 87-54
Published 7:00 pm Thursday, January 4, 2018
HARROGATE, Tenn. — Powered by a career night from Cornelius Taylor, the No. 6 Railsplitters (13-1, 7-0 SAC) opened on a 15-0 run and never let off the gas in an 87-54 triumph over the Anderson Trojans (4-10, 2-4 SAC) in South Atlantic Conference action on Wednesday night at Tex Turner Arena.
After suffering the first loss of the season right before the winter break and going through the motions in a win at Lenoir-Rhyne last Saturday, Lincoln Memorial put together a complete performance to get back on the right track. The Railsplitters dominated every phase of the game, shooting 53 percent while holding the visiting Trojans to a 29 percent mark. LMU led for all but 14 seconds to improve to 37-1 in Harrogate since the start of the 2015-16 campaign.
“I liked our spirit, our energy and our unselfishness, a lot of stuff we might have been missing recently,” LMU head coach Josh Schertz said. “For us it’s always been about effort, toughness and playing together on both ends of the floor. We got away from that a little bit and got away from who we have been.
“Like I said, I liked our spirit, energy and toughness tonight. I thought our defensive energy early got us out and running. We were playing with pace and the ball was changing sides of the floor and we are pretty good when that happens.”
Taylor paced the Railsplitters with a spectacular shooting performance. The sophomore guard scored a career-high 31 points, including 24 in the first half alone, on an 11-for-16 mark and a 7-for-11 effort from three-point range. Taylor had more points and field goals (nine) in the first half than Anderson’s entire team to obliterate his previous career watermark of 21 points.
“He was getting shots in rhythm and the guys were doing a good job of finding him,” Schertz said of Taylor. “He was sublime. He didn’t force anything and took shots within the flow of what we are doing offensively. He’s gotten better about maturing as a player. He’s doing a better job of not hunting offense but playing within our offensive flow.”
Emanuel Terry added 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, while Dorian Pinson finished just three assists shy of posting the second triple-double in program history with 13 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. After that 13-point outburst, Pinson needs just three more to become the 28th player in program history to reach 1,000 points for a career.
The Railsplitters put the Trojans away well before the under-16 media timeout, scoring the first 15 points of the game. Taylor played a pivotal role in that start, hitting back-to-back threes in the middle of the run before capping it with a layup to make it 15-0 with over 17 minutes remaining in the half.
Lincoln Memorial’s lead was never less than 12 points after that red-hot start, while a triple from Taylor and a bucket from Kamaran Calhoun, who scored seven in 11 minutes off the bench, made it a 27-7 lead with 12 minutes to go.
The Railsplitters led by as many as 25 points, shot 61 percent (17-for-28) and held the Trojans to just seven field goals on a dreadful 23 percent clip in the half.
Lincoln Memorial played even with the Trojans in the early going of the second half, but a 15-2 spurt increased the Railsplitters’ lead to 71-37 with 9:45 left in regulation.
Jeremy Bouton led the Trojans with 13 points and eight rebounds in 38 minutes of action. Gage Ellis was the only other Anderson player to finish with double figures, posting 11 points. Christian Jeffords and Josh Livingston added eight apiece.
With the completion of Wednesday’s game, the Railsplitters have reached the midway point of the regular season. Though Schertz and the Railsplitters have been mostly pleased with the results so far, they know there is room to grow as the season transitions to the rhythm and grind of conference play.
“We’ve done a lot of good things to get to 13-1, but certainly we all know in that locker room there’s a lot of improvements to make going forward,” Schertz said. “Hopefully we can start to build some momentum moving forward.”
The Railsplitters host the Coker Cobras in SAC action at 4 p.m. on Saturday.