HARROGATE, TN -- The 20th-ranked Railsplitters returned to the court for the first time in two weeks by overcoming an eight-point second-half deficit and using a late three from Lorenza Ross to capture a 78-75 overtime victory against Trevecca Nazarene University in nonconference men's basketball action on Wednesday evening at Tex Turner Arena. Lincoln Memorial University improved to 9-1 on the season and extended their winning streak to three in the process, while the Trojans fall to 3-10 on the year with the loss.
The Railsplitters came out hot to start the contest, accelerating to a 6-0 lead, paced by four points from Vincent Bailey, in the first two and a half minutes. Following that quick start, the Trojans responded with an 11-4 rally, headlined almost entirely by Maliek Daniels, who scored nine of those 11 points over that span. Another score from Daniels at the 12:49 mark pushed the Trojan advantage to 16-12, but the 'Splitters rallied to regain the lead at 19-18 with a free throw by Cam Carden at the 9:13 mark. The ensuing nine minutes saw the game knotted on six instances with the final occurrence coming with only 1:25 left in the period. However, Cam Carden netted his third three-point field-goal of the half with 1:19 on the clock to send LMU into the break atop the scoreboard, 33-30.
Lincoln Memorial came out of the locker room and quickly extended their lead to 37-32 with a pair of free throws from Lorenza Ross with 17:54 left in regulation. However, the momentum turned from that juncture as the Trojans stormed back to take a 44-43 lead by the 14:06 mark with a three from Nick Drake. That trend continued as Trevecca Nazarene amassed a 53-45 advantage with only 9:58 left to play following a jumper by Peyton Henry. Dustin Craig answered for LMU with a tip-in, however, that was voided by a pair of free throws from JP Nyadaro in the next Trojan possession.
Trailing 55-47, Lincoln Memorial countered with a 13-2 run, capped with a layup from Wally Jones, to assume a 60-57 advantage with just over five minutes left to play. The two teams traded punches over the final stretch as Nick Drake knotted the game at 60 apiece with a three at the 2:26 mark. Maliek Daniels slammed one home in the next Trojan possession to give Trevecca a brief 62-60 lead, however, Vincent Bailey nailed a jumper to tie the game at 62-62 with only 1:43 to play. Peyton Henry responded with a layup on the Trojan end and Jake Troyli answered that score with a fade away jumper with 37 ticks left in regulation. Following a stop on the defensive end, the Railsplitters had an opportunity to end the game in regulation but Lorenza Ross' game-winning attempt went begging to send the game to overtime.
In the overtime period, the two teams continued to battle a tightly contested game. Following a Maliek Daniels jumper with 24 ticks left in the first overtime, the game was all square at 75-75. In the ensuing possession, Lorenza Ross made good on his second game-winning attempt by draining a three-pointer with two seconds left on the clock to send the Railsplitter faithful home with a 78-75 victory over Trevecca Nazarene.
The Railsplitters were led by the all-around effort of Dustin Craig, who came off the bench to tally 16 points on 8-11 shooting and 10 rebounds in only 23 minutes en route to earning University Medical Clinic Player of the Game distinctions. Vincent Bailey also notched a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds to help lead the Railsplitters to a commanding 38-22 advantage on the glass.
Cam Carden paced the Railsplitter back court with 13 points highlighted by a 3-4 effort from beyond the three-point line. Lorenza Ross and Jake Troyli added nine and eight points respectively.
Lincoln Memorial was plagued by turnovers throughout the contest as they committed 22 blunders which the Trojans turned into 20 points. The Railsplitters did, however, continue their hot shooting, as they finished with a 53.7% mark from the field.
Maliek Daniels turned in an outstanding performance for the Trojans with a game-high 34 points on 15-23 shooting from the floor. Daniels also raked in eight rebounds in the losing effort. JP Nyadaro added 13 points, while Nick Drake tallied 11 for Trevecca. Marquise Rudolph and Peyton Henry capped the scoring for the Trojans with nine and eight points respectively.
The difference in the contest came in the bench-scoring output, as the Railsplitters' bench outscored the Trojans, 22-0.
The Railsplitters will return to the court on January 9th, as they travel to Mars Hill, North Carolina to resume South Atlantic Conference play with a battle against the Mars Hill Lions (8 p.m.). Lincoln Memorial will be back in Tex Turner Arena on January 12th, as they host Anderson University at noon in the "Pack the House" game slated to be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.