No joy in Railsplitter Land as both men and women lose in SAC finals

It was not the finish that had been hoped for as both LMU teams lost in the SAC finals over the weekend.  Stories on both games follow beginning with the story on the Lady Railsplitters.

Lady Railsplitters lose in SAC title game against Wingate 81-61

GREENVILLE, S.C – Foul trouble and cold shooting spelled the end of the No. 11/24 Lady Railsplitters’ chances of capturing the SAC Tournament championship as they fell in the title game 81-61 Sunday afternoon.

The loss drops the team to 26-4 on the season. They are still alive, however and are a third seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional, where they will face Clayton State next weekend in Columbus, Ga.

Josey Harding (Middletown, Ohio) led LMU with 15 points and a game high 16 rebounds. Emily Griffith (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) and Shea Coker (Knoxville, Tenn.) each had 11 points apiece.

Wingate outshot LMU 50.0%-to-33.3% from the field, 57.1%-to-25.0% from three point range and 79.4%-to-60.9% from the free throw line. The Bulldogs’ game plan was to control the rebounds and take it inside to draw fouls, which was successful as they outrebounded the Lady Railsplitters 39-36, had 34 points in the paint to LMU’s 16 and drew 31 fouls off of the Lady Railsplitters, shooting 34 free throws in the process.

SAC Player of the Year Megan Pittman (Liberty, Ky.) put LMU ahead 3-0 with a three-pointer on the first possession. The teams then essentially traded baskets with several ties until Wingate went on a 6-0 run to take a 16-10 lead late in the first quarter. A Rachel Griffith (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) jumper would cut it to 16-12 at the end of the first quarter.

Wingate would open the second quarter on an 11-3 run to take a 27-15 lead. Baskets by Shayla Barrow (Orlando, Fla.) and Karsen Sims (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) would cut the lead to eight before the Bulldogs pulled the lead back out to 37-24 at the end of the half, partly on the back of shooting 54 percent from the field and 67 percent from three point range for the quarter.

The Bulldogs would extend the lead to 20 points to open the third quarter and lead by as much as 24 before LMU began to chip away, trimming the lead back to 40-24 at the end of the period.

LMU would try to mount a comeback on several occasions, including one by Harding in the fourth quarter where she scored eight of her 15 points, but never could get within 16 points as Wingate went on to claim the 81-61 win and the SAC Tournament title.

Queens University wins first SAC Tournament title 75-72 over LMU

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Daniel Camps scored a season-high 29 points to lead the No. 10 Queens Royals (28-3) to a 75-72 win over the ninth-ranked Railsplitters (26-5) in the South Atlantic Conference Championship title game on Sunday evening at Timmons Arena.

The loss snapped a 16-game winning streak for Lincoln Memorial and likely means that the Railsplitters will be heading to Charlotte, North Carolina for the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional next weekend. Queens secured its first-ever SAC tournament title, avenged an 81-79 loss at Tex Turner on January 25 and almost certainly clinched hosting duties for the Southeast Regional.

“I was really proud of our guys,” head coach Josh Schertz said after the loss, which denied LMU of its third SAC tournament title of the past four seasons. “I thought we fought hard. I don’t think either team shot the ball particularly well from the field or from the free-throw line, but I thought our guys competed, stayed in it and gave ourselves chances. We just didn’t make enough plays at the end.”

Both Lincoln Memorial and Queens – two of the nation’s most efficient offenses – struggled on that end of the floor. The Railsplitters shot 45 percent from the field, but went 7-for-21 from three and missed 10 free throws (11-for-21). The Royals shot just 41.7 percent and finished a dreadful 1-for-15 from three-point range, but accounted for a 13-point edge at the charity stripe, where they went 24-for-34.

Free throws ultimately helped the Royals seal the deal in the final minutes, as nine of Queens’ last 18 points were scored at the free-throw line. Foul trouble plagued the Railsplitters throughout the contest as Chris Perry (Bartow, Fla.), Trevon Shaw (St. Helena Island, S.C.) and Emanuel Terry (Enterprise, Ala.) finished with four fouls apiece and the team had 25 total.

“Credit Queens, they made some plays down the stretch and got to the free-throw line relentlessly all game, almost every possession,” Schertz said. “That’s hard to overcome. They did a great job of getting our guys in foul trouble.”

Perry led the Railsplitters with 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting to go along with a game-high 15 rebounds over just 24 minutes of work. Luquon Choice (Laurens, S.C.) scored 15 points with five rebounds and five assists, but finished just 4-for-12 from the field. Cornelius Taylor (Claxton, Ga.) tallied 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting, while Deshawn Patterson (Lenoir, N.C.) lifted LMU with 13 points in 21 minutes off the bench.

Camps was the star of the show, though, as the Royals’ forward led all players with 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting and a 7-for-9 mark at the charity stripe. Ike Agusi added 14 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Mike Davis chipped in 10 points and four rebounds. Jalin Alexander contributed nine points on a 2-for-8 effort from the field.

The Railsplitters raced out to an 11-6 lead on a dunk from Perry at the 16:50 mark of the first half, but a 16-4 run put the Royals ahead 22-15 on a bucket from Camps with just under 10 minutes left in the half.

Queens maintained control and took a 25-17 lead on a three-point play from Camps at the 8:40 mark, but a 5-0 run pulled the Railsplitters within three points. The Royals kept Lincoln Memorial at bay until a pair of free throws from Choice knotted the game at 34-34 with 1:21 left. Queens extended the lead back to three points at the free-throw line before Patterson buried a jumper to send the Railsplitters into the break trailing 37-36.

Lincoln Memorial shot just 39.4 percent in the first half while Queens went 14-for-30 (46.7) from the field.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair, but the Railsplitters were never quite able to get over the hump. A three-pointer from Choice put LMU ahead 41-39 at the 18:43 mark, but Queens quickly pushed the lead back to five points less than three minutes later.

The Railsplitters took the lead again at 48-47 on a bucket from Taylor with 14:26 left, but Queens answered and regained a five-point lead at 55-50 at the under-12 media timeout.

Back-to-back three-pointers from Patterson, the second of which was intended as a lob for Terry, gave the Railsplitters their largest lead of the half at 64-61 with 7:44 to go. However, Queens pushed the lead back to four points at 69-65 on a pair of free throws from Davis with 5:22 left.

A tip-in from Perry gave the Railsplitters a 72-71 lead with 2:59 left, but Lincoln Memorial would go scoreless the rest of the way. Agusi scored the final four points for Queens, tying the game with a free throw at the 2:50 mark and knocking down the eventual game-winner with 2:10 left. He later drained another free throw to make it a three-point game.

The Railsplitters had the final possession with 2.5 seconds left on the clock, but the Royals opted to foul Terry on the ensuing in-bounds play to send the big man to the free-throw line. Terry missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and the Royals scrambled to get the rebound to end the game.

All told, the game featured seven ties and nine lead changes with neither team establishing a lead larger than eight points.

The Railsplitters shot 51.9 percent in the second half and limited Queens to 36.7 percent shooting over that same span, but committed 12 turnovers. For the game, the Royals scored 18 points off of 16 LMU miscues.

Lincoln Memorial will learn its postseason fate at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday night when the 64-team field for the 2017 NCAA Tournament is announced via a live selection show at the NCAA.com. The Railsplitters are expected to earn their seventh consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Kentucky waits for Georgia-Tennessee winner in Friday’s SEC quarterfinal round

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky men’s basketball team will be the No. 1 seed in the annual Southeastern Conference Tournament when action begins Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee. The Wildcats, who earned the coveted double bye, will play the winner of the Tennessee-Georgia game on Friday in Nashville, Tenn., at 1 p.m. ET in the quarterfinals.

UK won its 48th regular-season Southeastern Conference championship this season and its fifth in five seasons under head coach John Calipari. The Wildcats clinched a share of the title on Tuesday with a comeback 73-67 victory over Vanderbilt and then won the championship outright with a 71-63 win at Texas A&M on Saturday.

The last time UK was the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament was in 2015, when the Wildcats advanced to the championship game and defeated Arkansas. The Wildcats went on to a 38-1 record that season.

Kentucky has never been lower than a No. 2 seed (conference or division) in the SEC Tournament under Calipari.

Kentucky went 2-0 vs. the Bulldogs this season and 1-1 vs. the Volunteers. Georgia is the No. 8 seed and Tennessee is the No. 9 seed.

UK’s quarterfinal SEC Tournament game will be televised by the SEC Network. If Kentucky were to win Friday, it would play Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. Sunday’s championship game is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.

Both of the semifinals and championship game will be televised on ESPN.

The tournament will tip off Wednesday.

UK leads the league with 29 SEC Tournament titles, including four under Calipari. UK has captured each of the last two titles. The Wildcats are 127-25 all-time in the SEC Tournament, including 42-11 in the quarterfinals. Kentucky is 10-1 all-time vs. Georgia in the SEC Tournament and 11-4 vs. Tennessee.

It’s the third straight season the tournament will be held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and the fourth time in the last five years.

13th Region Girls Championship: Harlan 59 Harlan County 52

Harlan Independent successfully defended its 13th Region title from last year by snapping crosscounty rival Harlan County’s 25 game winning streak.  The Lady Black Bears had not lost since an 81-80 decision against South Laurel dating all the way back to December 10th.  Harlan had lost to Harlan County three times this season by margins ranging from 7 to 11 points before finally winning in the regional final by seven.

Harlan will now advance to the girls’ state tournament where they will take on George Rogers Clark.  The game is scheduled for March 8th beginning at 8pm at BB&T Arena on the campus of Northern Kentucky University.

LMU has no problem with Carson-Newman in 105-62 SAC semifinal rout

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Trevon Shaw (St. Helena Island, S.C.) scored a career-high 30 points as the No. 9 nationally-ranked and top-seeded Railsplitters (26-4) shot 54 percent from the field and buried a season-high 17 three-pointers to ransack the fourth-seeded Carson-Newman Eagles (19-11) 105-62 in the South Atlantic Conference Championship semifinals on Saturday at Timmons Arena.

The win was noteworthy for several reasons. First and foremost, the win advances Lincoln Memorial to the title game of the SAC Championship for the fifth consecutive season, where the Railsplitters will be looking to claim their third SAC tournament championship of the past four seasons. The Railsplitters also extended their winning streak to 16 games and handed the Eagles the second-worst loss in the history of the Carson-Newman men’s basketball program. It matched the largest margin of victory for either team in the 204-game history of the series. Continue reading LMU has no problem with Carson-Newman in 105-62 SAC semifinal rout

Shorthanded UK Hoops falls in the SEC Tournament semifinals

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Playing without point guard Taylor Murray, the 20th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats fought hard, but fell to No. 5 South Carolina 89-77 on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament.

 

Murray was injured late in Friday’s quarterfinal win over Alabama. She missed Saturday’s game with whiplash and is considered day-to-day.

 

This was the second game between the two teams in the last six days. South Carolina beat Kentucky in the regular season finale on Sunday, 95-87, in Columbia.

Continue reading Shorthanded UK Hoops falls in the SEC Tournament semifinals

13th Region Boys: Harlan County, Corbin survive and advance to finals

Harlan County and Corbin both survived tough tests in Saturday afternoon’s semifinal round at the Corbin Arena.  Corbin held off Knox Central 55-52 in the upper bracket while Harlan County overcame a double digit deficit and finally prevailed 59-56 in overtime against South Laurel in the lower bracket.  Corbin and Harlan County will meet Monday night in the boys’ regional championship game.  Harlan County has only lost three games all season, but two of those three came against the Redhounds who went 2-0 against the Black Bears during the regular season.

LMU’s Lady Railsplitters advance to the SAC Tournament finals

GREENVILLE, S.C. – The historic year of “firsts” keeps going on for the No. 11/24 Lady Railsplitters, this time it’s the program’s first appearance in the South Atlantic Conference Tournament Championship game following the 72-67 win over Carson-Newman in the Tournament Semifinals Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Railsplitters, the tournament’s top seed, advance to face third-seeded Wingate in the Championship game Sunday at 1 p.m. at Timmons Arena. The winner will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Continue reading LMU’s Lady Railsplitters advance to the SAC Tournament finals

Kentucky stages another comeback, wins at Texas A&M

Kentucky at Texas A&M, Reed Arena, College Station, Texas

March 4, 2017
Attendance:
9,528

 

Notes compiled by Jake Most

 

Final Score: No. 9/9 Kentucky 71, Texas A&M 63

 

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky has won eight in a row and is 26-5 overall.
  • UK finished the regular season 16-2 in the Southeastern Conference and claimed its 48th regular-season league championship as well as the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament. It is UK’s fifth crown in eight seasons under John Calipari.
    • The conference championship is Calipari’s 15th regular-season league title as a head coach. He won five at UMass, five at Memphis and now five at Kentucky. He is the only coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history to have won at least five regular-season titles at three different schools.
  • Texas A&M’s two-game winning streak ended and the Aggies closed the regular season 16-14 overall, 8-10 in the SEC.
    Kentucky leads the series 8-3. UK has won three in a row dating to last season’s SEC Tournament Championship game.

    • This was the first time in four games in College Station, Texas, that the game didn’t go to overtime.
  • Next for the Wildcats: UK will open up the SEC Tournament on Friday in Nashville, Tennessee’s Bridgestone Arena. As the No. 1 seed UK will play at 1 p.m. ET.

Continue reading Kentucky stages another comeback, wins at Texas A&M

13th Region Girls: It’ll be an all-52nd District regional final

The two 52nd District representatives, Harlan County and Harlan, picked up semifinal wins over the Laurel County Schools on Friday.  Harlan County defeated North Laurel 60-45 while Harlan eliminated South Laurel 54-47.  They advance to Saturday’s 13th Region Girls championship game for the second straight year. Harlan defefated Harlan County 44-36 in last year’s regional championship game.

This year’s game will be the fourth time the two rivals have met this season with Harlan County sweeping the previous three by scores of 54-47, 56-45, and most recently 81-72 in the 52nd District championship game.

20th ranked Kentucky beats Alabama to advance to SEC Women’s semifinals

No. 20 Kentucky Advances to SEC Semifinals, Beat Alabama, 65-55

Wildcats Face Top-Seeded South Carolina on Saturday

 

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Evelyn Akhator scored 23 points, and Alyssa Rice added a career high 11 as 20th-ranked Kentucky topped Alabama 65-55 on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 2017 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament.

 

Kentucky (21-9) also got double-figure scoring efforts from Makayla Epps and Maci Morris, who had 12 and 11 points, respectively. Taylor Murray had eight points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals as the Wildcats advanced to Saturday’s semifinals.

Continue reading 20th ranked Kentucky beats Alabama to advance to SEC Women’s semifinals