HICKORY, NC -- Paced by Jake Troyli's 26-point outburst, the 18th-ranked Railsplitters handed the Bears of Lenoir-Rhyne University an 82-72 loss in an overtime thriller in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday evening in Hickory, North Carolina. Lincoln Memorial University (12-2, 5-1 SAC) notched their second-consecutive win in league play with
the victory and placed themselves firmly in second in the SAC standings following Carson-Newman's loss to Anderson earlier in the day. For Lenoir-Rhyne (10-4, 3-3 SAC), tonight's loss served as their first in Shuford Gymnasium this season.
Four players reached double-figure scoring for the Railsplitters in the contest, headlined by Jake Troyli's 26-point effort. With 26 points on an outstanding 10-13 effort from the field, Troyli matched a career-high scoring performance dating back to January 11th of last year. The senior forward also tallied six rebounds in 43 minutes of action. Wally Jones provided 16 points and narrowly missed recording a double-double with nine boards. Jones drilled seven of his 10 free throw attempts, marked by a 5-6 effort in the overtime, to lead the LMU back court. Vincent Bailey was also a force down low for Lincoln Memorial, as the junior forward compiled 15 points and a game-high 12 points. Bailey was the catalyst for a dominating 43-26 margin of victory on the glass for LMU on the night. Tonight marked Bailey's second-consecutive double-double and his sixth of the season. Cam Carden poured in 10 points and grabbed five rebounds to round out the double-digit scoring performers for L incoln Memorial. The Railsplitters assisted on 17 of their 30 baskets with Wally Jones leading in that category with six dimes on the night.
The Railsplitters' bench out-paced the Bears 15-11 on the night, headlined entirely by Tim Pierce and Chance Jones. Pierce notched nine crutch-time points, while Jones made his impact felt with six points in 23 minutes of action.
Characteristically, the Railsplitters finished with a 55.6% clip from the field while limiting Lenoir-Rhyne to a 43.3% effort (26-60). Turnovers, however, plagued Lincoln Memorial on the evening, as they committed 25 blunders which led to 27 points for the Bears. The Railsplitters did match that figure in points off turnovers after forcing Lenoir-Rhyne into committing 17
The game was a physical contest as the two teams were whistled for a combined 42 fouls.
R.J. McClure was the spark offensively for the Bears, as he led the team with 23 points, highlighted by an 11-12 effort at the charity stripe. B.J. Beasley recorded a 13-point, 10-rebound outing for the Bears, while Jarvis Perry tallied 10 points. The Railsplitters were able to limit their leading scoring this season, Denzel Dillingham, to eight points on the night on 4-14 shooting.
The two teams met in a 4-4 stalemate at the 17:32 mark of the first half before the Bears rallied with a 6-0 run, capped by a Jarvis Perry steal and layup combo at the 15:45 mark, to take a 10-4 lead. Tim Pierce notched a free throw to cut that deficit to 10-5, however, the Bears scored four more unanswered points to establish a 14-5 advantage with 13:34 to play in the first frame. After trading buckets, the deficit held at nine in favor of the Bears before LMU closed the gap with a 7-0 run over the next 1:58, paced entirely by Jake Troyli, to make it a 16-14 ballgame. L-R would bend but never break over the ensuing minutes of play, as LMU pushed to within one on another layup by Troyli with six minutes exactly to play in the frame. The next 1:18 saw the Bears respond with a 5-0 run to establish a 27-21 lead with only 4:42 left in the stanza. However, in a game marked by the various runs, LMU answered with an 8-2 run, capped by Troyli's second three of the half, to knot the g ame at 29-29 with 2:07 left. The Bears scored on two-straight possessions but LMU replied with a Troyli dunk and a buzzer-beating layup by Tim Pierce as time expired to go into the half all square at 33-33.
The first half of play was headlined entirely by the front court of the Railsplitters, as Troyli tallied 18 of his 26 points in that frame and Vincent Bailey nearly recorded a double-double in the first 20 minutes with nine points and six boards.
As the second half opened, the Railsplitters and Bears traded buckets in four-consecutive possessions to meet in a 37-37 stalemate with 16:05 left in regulation. However, over the next four minutes, Lincoln Memorial stifled the Bears defensively and found their rhythm on the offensive end which led to a 9-0 run, highlighted by seven points from Wally Jones over that stretch. Roby Noyes drained a free throw at the 10:58 mark to cut the score to 48-40 in favor of LMU, but the Railsplitters extended their lead with another 8-0 run, capped by a Vincent Bailey jumper at the 7:33 mark, to assume a commanding 56-40 lead. Cam Carden answered a Jarvis Perry jumper with a three-pointer in the following Railsplitter possession to give LMU their largest lead of the game at 59-42 with only 6:51 left to play.
In a flash, the momentum of the contest swung back in the Bears' favor, as they implemented a full-court press which led to a devastating 12-0 run, capped by a free throw by R.J. McClure at the 4:10 mark of regulation. The Railsplitters were forced into committing six turnovers over that stretch which aided the L-R comeback attempt. Wally Jones ended the LMU scoring drought at the free throw line, knocking down one of his two attempts to extend LMU's lead to 60-54 with only 3:19 remaining. Over the next thirty seconds, the Bears cut the deficit to four on two occassions before the Railsplitters notched a Tim Pierce layup and another free throw by Wally Jones to establish a 65-58 advantage with only 1:10 to play. However, the Bears raced back into the game with a pair of free throws by R.J. McClure, a layup by Trez Shuford and a jumper by Denzel Dillingham to drive the score to 65-64 in favor of Lincoln Memorial with 17 ticks left in regulation. With nine seconds left, LMU bro ke the L-R pressure and Chance Jones was sent to the line where he drained both attempts to give LMU a three-point cushion. However, on their final attempt in regulation, R.J. McClure was fouled on his three-point attempt and drained all three of his free throw attempts to send the game into overtime with the teams square at 67 apiece.
In the extra five minutes, the Railsplitters never trailed. After meeting in a 69-69 stalemate, Lincoln Memorial rolled out to a 79-70 lead behind a 10-1 run, paced by Jake Troyli's four points over that stretch. The Railsplitters limited Lenoir-Rhyne to only a 2-7 mark in that frame en route to an 82-72 victory.
Wally Jones was the story of the final 25 minutes, as the senior guard tallied all 16 of his points over that span to lead the Railsplitters to victory. All told, tonight's contest saw eight ties and four lead changes.
The Railsplitters will look to stay on track in South Atlantic Conference play with their second-consecutive road contest on January 23rd. LMU is set to travel to Jefferson City, Tennessee to take on arch-rivals Carson-Newman College. That game is set to tip at 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening on the campus of Carson-Newman.