TALLAHASSEE, FL -- The Railsplitters quieted any doubts heading into the 2012-13 campaign with a gutsy effort in a hostile environment, as the Lincoln Memorial University men's basketball team fell to defending ACC Tournament Champions Florida State by a margin of 83-75 in an exhibition contest in Tallahassee, Florida.
Despite facing as large as a 17-point deficit in the first half and a 13-point deficit at the conclusion of the first stanza, the Railsplitters battled tough against the 25th ranked Seminoles of Florida State, whittling the Seminole advantage to only four with 1:42 remaining in the contest.
The Railsplitters were led in the contest by senior Jake Troyli, as the Preseason All-SAC Second Team selection played the entire game, matching a game-high figure with 19 points. Troyli accumulated those numbers on 7-10 shooting from the floor and a 4-4 effort from the charity stripe. He paired that point total with four boards, a couple steals and an assist.
Lorenza Ross came off the bench for the Railsplitters to contribute in a big way, tallying 14 points on 7-13 shooting from the field. The sophomore also recorded four rebounds and three assists. Senior Wally Jones was another highlight among the backcourt for the Railsplitters with 13 points, four assists and two boards in 33 minutes of action.
Senior Cam Carden notched 10 points in 30 minutes on the floor for the Railsplitters, pairing those figures with two assists and three steals.
In total, nine different players scored as the Railsplitters shot 52.5% from the floor against a team boasting three players standing taller than seven feet tall.
The Seminoles were paced offensively by Okaro White, as he matched Troyli's game-high figure with 19 points to go along with six boards. Michel Snaer, the 2012 ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player, was limited to 12 points on 5-11 shooting in 31 minutes of action.
Aaron Thomas matched that number with 12 points off the bench for the Seminoles. Terry Whisnant compiled 11 points and four rebounds as he was the final player to record double-figures in the contest for FSU. Ian Miller paced the Seminoles with a game-high eight assists.
"Obviously I am proud of our guys' effort," commented Lincoln Memorial head coach Josh Schertz. "That being said, losing shoud never be acceptable, particularly at a place like ours. I will say it means a lot to our guys, because they played their hearts out.
"Now it's back to work to shore up the areas we were exposed in tonight before November 10th (opening night)".
The Seminoles opened the contest by rolling out to a 7-0 lead, capped by a pair of free throws from Okaro White in the first minute of play to force a timeout from Josh Schertz. Jake Troyli came out of the timeout and nailed a jumper to put LMU on the board with 18:26 to play in the period, however, a three-ball from White put the Seminoles back on top by eight in the next possesion.
That would remain the deficit throughout much of the ensuing minutes of action until Wally Jones drained a three to cut the lead to 20-14 as the first half neared the 12-minute mark. From that juncture, FSU utilized a 13-4 run, capped with a free throw from White to push their lead to 33-15 with 8:10 left in the first period play.
For the remainder of the first half, the Seminoles would hold the Railsplitters at bay, extending their lead to 41-24 on another three-point bucket from White with 5:24 to play. LMU chipped away at that deficit, edging to within 12 with a trey from Wally Jones with 1:40 to play in the frame. The rest of the half played out with Terry Whisnant draining a three to extend the FSU lead to 50-35 and LMU closing the period with a layup from Chance Jones as time expired. With that final stretch of scoring, the Railsplitters went into the break trailing 50-37.
Coming out of the break, the Seminoles jumped back out to a 16-point cushion with a jumper from Michael Snaer at the 18-minute mark. However, LMU continued to battle tough, driving the score to 54-43 in FSU's favor with a jumper from Troyli with 16:55 to play in regulation.
With 13:29 on the clock, Lorenza Ross tallied a layup to cut the deficit to ten, which was quickly followed by a layup from Wally Jones to bring the score to 59-51 with 12:38 left to play.
After a more than two minute scoring drought from both sides, the Seminoles answered with a 6-2 run, capped with a pair of free throws from White, to extend their lead back to 12 at 65-53 with under ten minutes remaining.
Facing that 12-point hole, the Railsplitters used another lay-in from Ross and a layup from Vincent Bailey to drive the score to 67-60 with 6:56 to play. That margin was answered by the 'Noles with an 8-2 run to assume a 75-62 advantage with 4:42 left to play.
That would be the highest lead the Seminoles would attain until the final buzzer, as the Railsplitters used another gigantic momentum swing to cut the deficit to six, thanks to a three from Cam Carden, with 2:28 remaining. In the next FSU possesion, LMU forced a turnover and capitalized with a layup from Ross to bring the score to 77-73 with under two minutes to play.
Terry Whisnant cooly drained a three-point bucket in the next Seminole possesion to extend the FSU lead to 80-73 with a minute left of the clock. Wally Jones responded for LMU in ensuing seconds, using a layup to cut it back to 80-75, however, the Seminoles drained three free throws down the stretch to ice an 83-75 victory. The Railsplitters recorded a turnover and a missed three-point opportunity in their final two possesions.
For the game, the Seminoles shot 55.8% from the field, with their best efficiency ratings coming in the first half. The first half saw FSU notch a 63.3% mark from the field. In the second half, the Railsplitters limited the Seminoles to only 10-22 shooting for a 45.5% mark. In inverse fashion, the Railsplitters tallied a 48.5% shooting percentage in the first half and responded by going 16-28 (57.1%) in the second frame. The Railsplitters also forced Florida State into 13 turnovers while limiting their own number to 11 for the game.
In the battle of the boards, the Seminoles came away with a 30-25 edge, with the difference coming in defensive rebounds (21-16). The two teams grabbed nine offensive boards apiece.
After being outscored 50-37 in the first half, the Railsplitters responded by outscoring the 25th ranked Seminoles 38-33 in the second half of play.
Lincoln Memorial will now direct their attention to the quickly approaching start of the regular season. The Railsplitters are slated to open the 2012-13 campaign on November 10th, as they host Ohio Mid-Western in Tex Turner Arena. That game will tipoff at 8 p.m. on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University.
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