Defense leads No. 3 LMU past Catawba
Published 3:41 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2018
SALISBURY, N.C. — The No. 3 Railsplitters (17-1, 11-0 SAC) befuddled the Catawba offense with a lockdown defensive effort to power a 90-61 triumph over the Indians (5-11, 2-9 SAC) on Saturday afternoon at Goodman Gymnasium.
Lincoln Memorial remained perfect in South Atlantic Conference play, pushed its SAC winning streak to 25 games and extended the nation’s longest road winning streak to 17 with the victory to wrap up its three-game road trip.
The Railsplitters weren’t at their best offensively, particularly in the first half, when they started 5-for-15 and finished with just a 36.7 percent mark overall in the frame. However, Lincoln Memorial completely silenced Catawba’s offense, holding the homestanding Indians to 29 percent shooting in the game, including a dreadful 5-for-29 effort from three.
The Indians missed their first 15 three-point tries before finally connecting on one with just under 15 minutes remaining in regulation.
The Railsplitters eventually got things going offensively, shooting 57 percent in the second half. Lincoln Memorial also buried a season-high 26 free throws on 35 attempts to aid the offensive attack.
“First off, I just want to commend Catawba,” said LMU head coach Josh Schertz. “They played with great effort, physicality and toughness despite being incredibly short handed. We played poorly but a lot of that needs to be credited to them.
“As for us we didn’t have it physically or mentally so we relied on talent which was good enough tonight in a game that wasn’t a fair fight due to their injuries. Our biggest challenge right now is consistency and that requires an emotional maturity that we have yet to demonstrate. Our ability to grow in this area will ultimately set this team’s ceiling.”
Cornelius Taylor led Lincoln Memorial with 22 points on 6-of-9 shooting and a perfect 7-for-7 effort at the free-throw line. Dorian Pinson flirted with another triple-double, notching 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and a pair of blocks.
Romeao Ferguson pitched in 13 points – one shy of matching his career-high mark – in 12 minutes off the bench, while Trevon Shaw contributed 11 points and five boards. Emanuel Terry was limited to nine points but did match a game-high mark with 10 rebounds.
The Indians were paced by Jerrin Morrison’s 23 points and nine rebounds, as the SAC’s second-leading scorer went 9-for-19 from the field to account for nearly half of Catawba’s 22 field goals. Malik Constantine pitched in 15 points and 10 rebounds, while no other Indian finished in double figures.
The Railsplitters initially couldn’t get much separation from the Indians, who tied the game at 13-13 on a jumper from Constantine with 11:33 left in the first half. But Lincoln Memorial established control after that, rattling off a 12-2 run kick started by 3-pointers from Taylor and Shaw to assume a 27-15 cushion at the six-minute mark.
Catawba countered with six unanswered points to close the gap to 27-21 with just over four minutes left in the half, but the Railsplitters would wrap up the half with a suffocating 14-1 flurry to take a 41-22 lead into the break. A free throw from Constantine with 10 seconds left accounted for the only point for Catawba over the final four minutes.
Lincoln Memorial then opened the second half with a 9-1 spurt capped by Josh Odem’s bucket with 15:55 remaining in regulation, an opening stretch that gave the Railsplitters a commanding 50-23 advantage.
The visitors never led by less than 25 after that, while a dunk by Terry extended the lead to 59-29 with 12 and a half minutes left. Lincoln Memorial expanded its lead to as many as 35 before the final buzzer sounded.
The Railsplitters outrebounded Catawba 49-46 and assisted on 15 of their 28 field goals. Lincoln Memorial also converted 17 turnovers into 18 points, and poured in 34 points in the paint.
With their three-game road trip in the books, the Railsplitters finally return to Tex Turner Arena on Wednesday night to host the Tusculum Pioneers. Lincoln Memorial will be looking to complete the season sweep against the Pioneers after a 91-73 victory in Greeneville on Nov. 29. Tip-off between the two rivals is set for 8 p.m. in Harrogate.