AUGUSTA, GA -- For the second-consecutive game, the No. 20 Railsplitters knocked a team from the ranks of the unbeaten, as the Lincoln Memorial University men's basketball team (8-1) put in a complete performance in a 67-53 victory over the 12th-ranked Jaguars of Augusta State University (6-1) at the James Brown Arena in downtown Augusta, Georgia on Wednesday evening.
The Railsplitters rode a revived defensive unit to victory in a dominant team effort, as they stymied the Jaguars to the tone of a 18-67 shooting effort (26.9%) from the floor and a 3-12 mark from the three-point line (25.0%). Only three players on the Augusta State side tallied double-figure scoring, paced by Harold Doby and Josh Samuels with 11 points apiece. Devon Wright-Nelson finished with 10 points and matched a game-high with 12 rebounds. No other player on the Jaguar side finished with more than five points.
Offensively, the Railsplitters used a balanced offensive attack, with 10 players recording a basket in the game, and a spectacular individual effort from Jake Troyli to capture the win on the road. Troyli led all players with 24 points and matched Nelson's game-high figure with 12 rebounds in 36 minutes of action. The senior from Largo, Florida made 10 of his 18 shot attempts and added an assist, a steal and a block in the triumphant effort on the road.
Wally Jones, this past week's Railsplitter and South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week, added nine points and dished out a game-high five assists with no turnovers in 29 minutes on the court. Jones also tallied a game-high three steals in the contest. Lorenza Ross and Vincent Bailey poured in six points apiece and Bailey added seven rebounds in only 16 minutes of action to bolster his resume from the evening.
Cam Carden made good on two of his four shot attempts to notch five points, while Tim Pierce provided the Railsplitters with five points as well off the bench. Senior Dustin Craig was a force on the glass for LMU with seven rebounds to go along with four points.
The Railsplitters grabbed the early lead following two quick buckets from Vincent Bailey, with his second score coming at the 19:11 mark to assume a 4-0 advantage. The Jaguars responded with a 7-3 run, capped with a free throw from Harold Doby to knot the game at seven apiece with 16:18 remaining in the half. Augusta State took their only lead of the game at the 15:43 mark with a jumper from Travis Keels which was quickly erased in the next possession with a jumper from Lorenza Ross.
The Railsplitters held tight to the lead over the ensuing minutes, never leading by more than five until Jake Troyli changed that trend by draining a three with 8:53 left in the first stanza to extend LMU to a 23-17 cushion. Tim Pierce pushed Lincoln Memorial to their double-digit lead of the contest with a three of his own at the 6:08 mark of the period. The Railsplitters would continue to hold the Jaguars at bay with a stifling defense and extended the lead to 12 with a jumper from Keenan Peterson with only 2:37 to play in the half. Two free throws by Devonte Thomas cut the deficit back to 32-22 with 47 left in the half, however, Wally Jones had the final word in the half with a layup to take the Railsplitters into the break atop the scoreboard, 34-22.
Lincoln Memorial forced Augusta State into committing seven turnovers in the half and limited the Jaguars to an 8-29 effort from the field and an 0-3 mark from three.
Coming out of the locker room, the Jaguars received a bucket from Wright-Nelson and another score from Harold Doby to drive to within eight points of the Railsplitters. Lincoln Memorial quickly extended their advantage back to 37-26 over the next two possessions with a jumper from Lorenza Ross and a free throw from Jake Troyli. A three-pointer from Nelson in the following Jaguar opportunity drove the score back to 37-29 with 16:44 remaining in regulation, however, that would be the closest Augusta State would find themselves.
Two straight scores from Jake Troyli extended the lead to 12 and the Railsplitters were off and running, as they established their largest lead of the contest by the 9:44 mark with a free throw from Troyli to grab a 48-32 advantage. Augusta State got to within 10 on one other occasion down the stretch with a pair of free throws from Harold Doby with 5:51 left on the clock, however, LMU responded with a 5-0 run to take a 59-44 lead with 4:37 remaining. The Railsplitters went 4-5 from the charity stripe over the final two minutes to ice a 67-53 victory in Augusta, Georgia.
The Jaguars came into tonight's game with the 32nd-ranked scoring offense in the country (83.0 points per game) and the Railsplitters responded by holding Augusta State to thirty points below their scoring average this season.
The Railsplitters will break for Christmas with their next appearance scheduled for January 2nd, as they are set to return to Tex Turner Arena for a nonconference contest against Trevecca Nazarene University. That game is set for an 8 p.m. tip in Harrogate, Tennessee. Lincoln Memorial defeated the Trojans, 73-52, in their first meeting this season in Nashville, Tennessee back on November 20th.