Second half explosion propels LMU to their 30th consecutive SAC win

ANDERSON, S.C. – A nearly flawless start to the second half and an impenetrable defensive performance were the catalysts for the No. 1 Railsplitters (22-1, 16-0 SAC) in their record-setting 30th consecutive South Atlantic Conference victory on Wednesday night, leading the way to an 88-58 triumph over the Anderson Trojans (7-16, 5-10 SAC) inside of the Abney Center.

After struggling mightily on the offensive end in a first half that left Lincoln Memorial leading by just eight at the break, the Railsplitters kicked off the second stanza by scoring 10 unanswered points as part of a larger 27-5 flurry to build a 30-point lead in the blink of an eye.

Lincoln Memorial went into cruise control after that dizzying opening run to complete its 30th straight SAC win and break the record for most consecutive conference wins in league history that the Railsplitters themselves set from 2014-16. Coincidentally enough, the first win of this 30-game SAC winning streak came against Anderson on January 11, 2017.

“I thought this game was good for us coming off of last week,” said LMU head coach Josh Schertz. “To win a game when you shoot as poorly as we did means you had to defend, rebound and take care of the ball, and for the most part we did a pretty good job in those areas. As I told them after the game, I thought we played pretty well and just missed shots. It’s good to play a game like that where you have to win on your fight and competitiveness.”

In addition to that unprecedented streak, the Railsplitters also extended the nation’s longest current road winning streak to 19 games.

The Railsplitters weren’t at their best offensively, particularly in the first half when they shot just 36 percent and went 3-for-19 from three-point range. However, Lincoln Memorial made it nearly impossible for Anderson to score, holding the Trojans to 32 percent shooting for the game, which included a 2-for-15 effort from three.

Trevon Shaw led the Railsplitters by scoring 16 points on a 5-of-10 mark from long range to go along with five rebounds. With his five three-pointers, Shaw pushed his nation-leading total to 102 to become just the third player in program history to hit over 100 in a season, joining Luquon Choice and Jalen Steele as the only other Railsplitters to accomplish that feat.

Dorian Pinson added 14 points and 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action, while Alex Dahling drained four three-pointers to provide 14 points in 15 minutes off the bench. Cornelius Taylor chipped in 13 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals, while Emanuel Terry scored 10 points with eight rebounds and three blocks.

The Trojans were once again without leading scorer Randall Shaw in their matchup against the Railsplitters. In his absence, Gage Ellis paced Anderson with a game-high 21 points on a tough 6-for-15 shooting night. Jeremy Bouton was the only other player to finish with double figures with 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Lincoln Memorial dealt with not only uncharacteristic cold shooting in the first half but also had to manage significant foul trouble, and that played a big role in the tenor of the game as a whole through the first 20 minutes of action. Pinson, Terry and Josh Odem were each whistled for two fouls in the first half and combined for just 30 minutes of action.

It was slow going for both teams early in the game, as Anderson took a 10-8 lead on a bucket from Rakish Taylor at the 13:44 mark. However, the Trojans were able to muster just three points over the next nine minutes against LMU’s stifling defense as the Railsplitters pulled ahead 27-13 on a tip-in by Pinson.

Lincoln Memorial maintained a 13-point edge at 29-16 on a steal and breakaway dunk from Taylor with four minutes left in the half, but an 8-0 run helped the Trojans trim the deficit back to five points on two free throws from Ellis at the 1:23 mark.

The Railsplitters used a 5-0 personal run by Taylor to quickly expand the lead back to 11 points before Bouton buried a three-pointer just inside of half court at the buzzer to close Lincoln Memorial’s halftime lead to 35-27.

Lincoln Memorial crushed any idea of an upset right from the jump in the second half, though, as back-to-back three-pointers from Shaw and Odem completed that 10-0 run that put the Railsplitters ahead 45-27 and forced the Trojans to burn a timeout.

Anderson briefly stopped the bleeding with a bucket from Ellis with 15:40 left in regulation, but Lincoln Memorial continued to pour it on with another 12-0 flurry capped by a dunk from Terry and another three-pointer by Shaw to make it a 62-32 game with 11:40 remaining.

The Railsplitters never led by less than 25 for the remainder of the contest.

Lincoln Memorial limited the Trojans to a dismal 28 percent shooting with a 1-for-11 clip from three-point range in the second half. Meanwhile, the Railsplitters did get it going offensively over that same timeframe, shooting 58 percent while kicking in eight three-pointers.

Quick Hits

– The Railsplitters extended their overall winning streak to 11 games. It marks their fifth win by at least 30 points in their last seven outings. The other two during that stretch were decided by 29 and 22, respectively.

– Lincoln Memorial outrebounded the Trojans 45-36 and also finished well ahead of Anderson in the possession battle, attempting 17 more shots in the contest. LMU also played really clean basketball with only 10 turnovers.

– The Railsplitters topped the Trojans for the 10th consecutive time and improved to 12-7 in the all-time series.

– LMU’s bench more than doubled the output of Anderson’s second unit, 28-12.

Up Next

The Railsplitters complete their brief two-game road trip on Saturday when they pay the Wingate Bulldogs a visit for a 4 p.m. tip-off.

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