JEFFERSON CITY, TN -- The 12th-ranked Railsplitters of Lincoln Memorial University handed arch-rival Carson-Newman College their first loss of the season in Holt Fieldhouse on Wednesday evening, as LMU powered their way to an 80-63 victory in South Atlantic Conference basketball action. In the process, Lincoln Memorial University (13-2, 6-1 SAC) head coach Josh Schertz picked up his 100th career win since stepping to the helm of the men's basketball program. The loss sends the Eagles of Carson-Newman to 11-4 on the year and 4-3 in South Atlantic Conference play.
The triumphant effort for the No.12 nationally ranked Railsplitters was headlined by the spectacular performance of senior forward Jake Troyli (Largo, FL), as he compiled a career-best 32 points on 14-19 shooting from the field. Troyli also compiled nine boards, an assist and a block in 40 minutes of action for Lincoln Memorial. Over his past two games, Jake has combined to pour in 58 points for an average of 29 points per outing.
The Railsplitters edged the Eagles in the rebounding column by a margin of 39-35, as Vincent Bailey (Jennings, FL) matched Troyli's output with a game-high nine boards to go along with 12 points, narrowly missing recording his third-consecutive double-double effort. Cam Carden (Clearwater, FL) also tallied 12 points, highlighted by a 4-9 effort from long-range, to play in pivotal role in the Railsplitters' victory in Jefferson City.
Wally Jones (Greensboro, NC) and Tim Pierce (Albany, GA) also left their mark on the contest with eight points apiece. Jones tied Cam Carden for the team-lead with four assists in the game.
Despite only recording two points in the game, junior Chance Jones (Knoxville, TN) made an impact on the defensive side of the ball, stymying the Eagle attack by holding Ishmael Sanders scoreless over the final 9:42 of the contest. Sanders led Carson-Newman with 21 points on 7-19 shooting, however, Chance Jones held him to an 0-4 mark over the final 10 minutes of action to help secure the victory for the Railsplitters. When Jones checked into the contest, Lincoln Memorial was clinging tight to a 61-51 advantage.
Antoine Davis was the next highest scorer in the game for the Eagles, as he tallied 15 points, with 11 of those 15 coming in the first 20 minutes of play. Carson Brooks lifted the Eagles off the bench with 11 points.
In a characteristic fashion, the Railsplitters displayed machine-like efficiency on the offensive end, going 31-58 (53.4%) from the floor and netting nine of their 18 three-point attempts, while limiting the Eagles to a 23-65 clip (35.4%) from the field. The Eagles were held to a 20.7% effort from long-range, less than half of their season average from the three.
After meeting in an early 4-4 tie, the Railsplitters grabbed control of the contest behind a commanding 18-4 rally, capped with a three-pointer by Lorenza Ross at the 11:21 mark of the first half to assume a 22-8 lead. By the 6:12 mark of the half, the 'Splitters pushed that lead to 35-14 with a three-point play by Tim Pierce. Ishmael Sanders cut the halftime deficit to 16 with a three-pointer with only 49 seconds left.
The Railsplitters continued to cling to a double-digit advantage throughout the second half until the Eagles rallied to cut the deficit to nine on a layup by Antoine Davis with 10:20 to play. That would, however, be as close as Carson-Newman would find themselves, as Jake Troyli drilled a jumper in the following possession to extend the lead back to 11 with under 10 minutes left in regulation.
The Railsplitters limited Carson-Newman to only five points over the final 4:12 en route to an 80-63 victory in Jefferson City, Tennessee.
The Railsplitters and Eagles played a cleanly-contested game, as the two teams combined to only commit 14 turnovers with Carson-Newman holding a slight 6-8 edge in that category.
Head Coach Josh Schertz picked up his 100th career victory as a head coach with the win, accumulating that mark in only four and a half seasons at Lincoln Memorial University. Schertz's career record moves to 100 wins to only 34 losses with the win.
After a two-game road trip, the No.12 Railsplitters are poised to return to Tex Turner Arena this weekend for a battle with the top-seeded Wingate University Bulldogs, who are currently unbeaten in South Atlantic Conference play this season. With a win on Saturday, the Railsplitters would move into sole possession of the top-spot in the South Atlantic Conference. The Railsplitters and Bulldogs are set to tip at 8 pm on Saturday, January 26th on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University.