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Eighth-ranked Railsplitters slide past Coker 95-81 to win 13th-straight game

HARROGATE, TN - All five LMU starters finished in double figures, headlined by senior forward Vincent Bailey's (Jennings, FL) 25-point, 10-rebound performance, as the eighth-ranked Railsplitters raced past the Coker College Cobras 95-81 in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday at Tex Turner Arena.

Lincoln Memorial University (17-1, 13-1 SAC) won its 13th-straight game while finishing off the regular-season sweep of the Cobras (10-8, 7-7 SAC), who fell for only the third time in the last seven games. The Railsplitters bested Coker 78-67 in Hartsville, South Carolina on December 7.

LMU forward Vincent Bailey matched a game-high mark with 25 points, 10 of which fell in the first 3:48 of action and helped the Railsplitters mount an early 15-8 lead. Bailey added 10 rebounds to notch his eighth double-double of the season and third over the last four games. The Jennings, Florida native went 11-for-19 from the field.

The rest of LMU's starting five joined Bailey with double-digit points in the contest. Tim Pierce (Albany, GA) pitched in a career-high 17 points, and 14 of those points were scored in the first half which saw LMU finish with a 52-42 advantage. Chance Jones (Knoxville, TN) and Lorenza Ross (Savannah, GA) contributed 16 and 14 points respectively, while Keenan Peterson (College Park, GA) collected 13 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year. Peterson's game-high 11 boards catapulted LMU to a 54-31 margin on the glass.

Bailey's quick start boasted the Railsplitters to a 15-8 advantage after three minutes and some change had ticked off the clock. LMU built off of that early jolt, pressing out to a 26-14 lead following a Curtis Webb (Spartanburg, SC) lay-up and two Chance Jones free throws. With the Railsplitters retaining a nine-point edge on a Tim Pierce three with 9:41 to go, the Cobras marched off a 7-0 run over the next 1:35 to close the gap to 34-32.

The Cobras' threat quickly subsided, as Lincoln Memorial responded with a 9-0 run carried by seven points from Pierce to extend the lead to 43-32 with 4:40 remaining in the half. The Railsplitters led by as many as 15 down the stretch, holding a 52-37 edge with 1:25 to play in the period, but Julian Nelson closed the half on a solo 5-0 run to cut LMU's lead to 10 at the break.

In the second half, the Railsplitters withstood all of the Cobras' potential rallies. Errick Bethel pushed Coker to within six at 70-64 with a lay-up at the 10:08 mark, however, Lorenza Ross netted back-to-back jumpers to give LMU some breathing room. Julian Nelson made it a six-point game once more with two free throws with less than eight minutes remaining, but a Keenan Peterson jumper along with a Ross slam punched LMU back in front by 10.

The Railsplitters never led by less than eight for the remainder of regulation. Nelson accounted for that slim deficit for Coker with a three-pointer at the 3:20 mark. But, the Railsplitters sealed the win with an 8-0 run over the next 2:18 to press out to a 16-point advantage.

Lincoln Memorial finished with a 32-for-64 mark (50 percent) from the field and a 27-for-41 clip at the free-throw line. LMU's 41 free-throw attempts were the most for the program since November 28, 2012. The Railsplitters assisted on 14 of their 32 baskets, as Ross and Jones posted four assists apiece in the contest. Lincoln Memorial narrowly outscored the Cobras in the paint, finishing with a 52-42 advantage in the square.

Coker went 29-for-69 from the field (42 percent) and 16-for-24 at the free-throw line. Julian Nelson paced the Cobras with 25 points on 9-of-20 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Eren Moses posted 21 points, four rebounds and two steals, while Trey Marshall finished with 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.

The Railsplitters are set to travel to Jefferson City, Tennessee for a South Atlantic Conference battle against the Carson-Newman Eagles on Wednesday, February 5. LMU and Carson-Newman's first meeting of the 2013-14 campaign is slated for an 8 p.m. tip at Holt Fieldhouse.

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