NEWBERRY, SC -- A career day for redshirt-freshman Luquon Choice (Laurens, SC) headlined a trio of scoring outbursts, as the 20th-ranked Railsplitters knocked off the Newberry College Wolves, 102-87, in South Atlantic Conference action on Sunday in Newberry, South Carolina. Lincoln Memorial University improves to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in SAC play with the win, while the Wolves fall to 8-2 and 4-2 in the league following the loss.
Laurens, South Carolina native Luquon Choice fronted a potent LMU attack with a career-high 34 points, accumulated on 13-of-22 shooting with an eight-for-12 mark from long range. Choice's 34 points were the most for a Railsplitter since D'Mario Curry popped the Carson-Newman Eagles for 35 on March 2, 2011, while his eight three-pointers fell one shy of matching the LMU single-game record for trifectas. The last 'Splitter to drain eight three-pointers was David Lopez during the 2006-07 campaign. Choice's stat ledger was rounded out with nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in 37 minutes of action.
Not to be outdone, senior Vincent Bailey (Jennings, FL) logged his third double-double of the season, posting 22 points with a career-high 17 boards, pacing the Railsplitters to a dominant 49-32 advantage on the glass. The 6-7 forward nailed eight of his 11 shot attempts and went six-for-10 from the charity stripe. Fellow senior Chance Jones (Knoxville, TN) also boasted a career day, as the guard notched 22 points on an efficient nine-for-11 mark from the floor. Jones accumulated a game-high six assists - a third of LMU's total assists - with four rebounds.
All told, the Railsplitters finished shooting 62.9 percent in the contest (39-62) with an 11-for-17 effort from beyond the three-point line. LMU hit double-digit three-pointers in a game for the first time since February 2, 2013.
The Railsplitters paired an efficient and productive offensive outing with a stingy defensive effort. Lincoln Memorial limited the Wolves to only 38.8 percent shooting (26-67) headlined by a 34.3 percent mark in the second half. The Wolves did, however, connect on 10 of their 20 three-point attempts in the contest. The Railsplitters overcame 17 turnovers which Newberry converted into 18 points with a dominant effort in the paint, where they outscored the Wolves, 54-30. The Railsplitters also took advantage of 14 offensive rebounds by scoring 22 second chance points.
Demarkus Smith led the Wolves with 18 points and six rebounds despite only logging 22 minutes of action. Smith finished six-for-11 from the floor and knocked down five of his six free throw attempts. Dondray Walker went four-of-seven from behind the three-point line to tally 15 points off of the Newberry bench. Walker paired that with five rebounds and four assists. Mitch Riggs posted 14 points and Xavier Holmes chipped in with 12 points in 18 minutes off the bench.
Curtis McMillion (Fayetteville, NC) scored with 11 seconds left in the first half to send the Railsplitters into the break facing a 41-40 deficit. A three-point shooting barrage pushed LMU back on top quickly coming out of the locker room, as Luquon Choice hit three three-pointers and Chance Jones pitched in with one over a four-minute stretch to give the Railsplitters a 54-50 advantage. Following Jones' three, LMU scored eight unanswered points to assume a 62-50 lead with 14:24 left.
The Wolves hung tough over that stretch, trimming the deficit to as little as seven on four occasions. A Demarkus Smith layup at the 10:59 mark was the final occurrence, as the Railsplitters answered with a 10-2 run - carried by five points from Curtis Webb (Spartanburg, SC) - over the next 3:12 to take a 79-64 lead. Over the final 7:47 of action, the Railsplitters never led by fewer than 12 points, bludgeoning out to as large as 18-point lead before settling for a 102-87 victory. Lincoln Memorial finished shooting a gaudy 76.7 percent in the second half, which saw a 17-point swing in favor of the Railsplitters.
The Railsplitters have now scored 80 or more points in their last seven meetings against the Newberry Wolves. It marks the third-straight contest with Newberry that LMU has logged at least 95 points. The Railsplitters - who rank second in the SAC scoring 88.8 points per game - have scored 90 or more points four times this season.
Lincoln Memorial is scheduled to return to action for the final time of the calendar year on Saturday, December 21, welcoming non-conference foe University of Virginia-Wise to Tex Turner Arena for a 4 p.m. bout.