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No. 23 Railsplitters use big first half run to race past Cobras, 78-67

HARTSVILLE, SC - The 23rd-ranked Railsplitters used a 25-4 first half run to take command and held on for a 78-67 victory over the Coker College Cobras in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday in Hartsville, South Carolina. Lincoln Memorial University improves to 5-1 on the season and 2-1 in SAC play by virtue of its victory, while the Cobras fall to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the league with the loss.

The Railsplitters and Cobras played to a near even draw through the first 10 minutes of the opening half, as Coker jumped in front 16-15 following a Trey Marshall lay-up with 10:08 remaining. From that mark, the Railsplitters kicked off what would eventually be a 25-4 run with four-straight lay-ups to take a 22-16 lead with 7:57 left. Eren Moses stopped the bleeding with a bucket for the Cobras at the 7:27 mark, but the 'Splitters responded by scoring 11-straight points over the next 3:23. Curtis McMillion (Fayetteville, NC) kicked off that flurry with a three-point play with 6:15 left and Lorenza Ross (Savannah, GA) put the finishing touches on it with a lay-up at the 4:44 mark.

Larry Felder put the Cobras back on the board with a bucket at 4:24, but the Railsplitters scored seven-straight to conclude their 25-4 run. Senior Chance Jones (Knoxville, TN) scored five points over that run.

All told, the 25-4 run covered a seven-minute and 46-second span of the first half, pushing the Railsplitters out to a 40-20 lead with 2:21 remaining in the half. Lorenza Ross eventually put the finishing touches on LMU's big first half, draining a lay-up as time expired to send the Railsplitters into the break leading 45-24.

The Railsplitters led by at least 14 for 19 of the 20 minutes in the second half. Lincoln Memorial led 78-60 with only 2:52 left, but the Cobras scored the final seven points of regulation to cut the final deficit to 78-67.

Lincoln Memorial finished with a 31-for-49 mark (63.3%) from the field buoyed by a six-for-nine effort (66.7%) from three-point range and a 10-for-13 clip (76.9%) from the charity stripe. The Railsplitters overcame a 22-turnover performance by out-rebounding the Cobras, 34-20. The Railsplitters also assisted on 12 of their 31 baskets.

Senior Vincent Bailey (Jennings, FL) led the Railsplitters with 15 points on an efficient six-for-eight tally from the floor. Bailey added two rebounds, a steal and a block. Lorenza Ross chipped in with 14 points on seven-of-nine shooting, while Curtis McMillion recorded his second-straight double-double, popping in 12 points with a game-high 13 rebounds. Tim Pierce (Albany, GA) tallied 11 points off the bench and Keenan Peterson (College Park, GA) reigned in 11 rebounds in only 10 minutes of work.

Larry Felder paced the Cobras - who finished shooting 45.1 percent (23-for-51) - with 19 points off the bench, knocking down seven of his 11 shot attempts while collecting four rebounds, two assists and three steals. Eren Moses and Teon Beckett scored 12 points apiece to back that offensive effort.

The Railsplitters return to action on December 15, traveling to Newberry, South Carolina for a 2 p.m. South Atlantic Conference bout against the Newberry College Wolves. Lincoln Memorial returns to Tex Turner Arena on December 21 with a non-conference battle against Virginia-Wise.

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