HARROGATE, TN -- The 18th-ranked Railsplitters turned up the heat in the second half en route to an overpowering 75-51 victory over the Brevard College Tornados in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action on Wednesday evening. Lincoln Memorial University (11-2, 4-1 SAC) rebounds from Saturday's heartbreaking loss to Anderson with the win and holds steady in second in the league standings with the win, while Brevard College (2-11, 1-4 SAC) earned their fifth-consecutive loss on the year and second-straight loss to LMU.
The game was a tale of two vastly different halves for the Railsplitters, as they struggled to find a rhythm on either side of the court in the first half. In that frame, Lincoln Memorial was out-shot by the Tornados (45.8%-41.9%) but still managed to take a 33-27 lead into the break. Coming out of the locker room, the Railsplitters re-asserted their authority on both ends of the court, limiting the Tornados to 7-27 (25.9%) shooting while finishing with a blistering 58.3% mark from the field. The Railsplitters outscored Brevard, 42-24, in that frame.
LMU was led by the inside-outside duo of Vincent Bailey and Cam Carden, who tallied 18 points apiece to lead all scorers. Bailey was a highly-efficient 8-10 from the floor and drained two of his three free throw attempts. The junior forward also reigned in 10 rebounds to cap his sixth double-double performance of the season. Carden was equally efficient, going 6-10 from the field and 4-8 from three, while coming up one rebound short of his first double-double of the season with nine boards.
Tim Pierce and Dustin Craig paced a 29-18 advantage for the Railsplitters in bench scoring by combining for 23 points for the second unit. Pierce poured in 14 points and led the team with three assists. Craig tallied nine points and grabbed five rebounds.
The Railsplitters capped the contest with a commanding 43-23 advantage on the glass. Lincoln Memorial also forced the Tornados into committing 15 turnovers which led to 20 points.
Miles Leathers was the lone player on the Tornados' side to notch double-figure scoring, as he tallied 11 points while also leading the team in rebounding with five boards. Gerel Simmons added eight points off the bench and Manzey Miller and Alex Moe recorded seven and six points respectively.
In the first half, the two teams fought a tightly-contested game, meeting in a 20-20 tie with 8:01 left in the frame. Over the next two minutes, LMU drove out to a seven-point advantage with a 7-0 run, sparked by a pair of Chance Jones' jumpers and a Cam Carden three-pointer. The Tornados cut the deficit back to three with 4:42 to play in the period, but LMU kept Brevard at bay to go into the half leading 33-27.
By the 15:45 mark of the second half, the Tornados notched a pair of free throws by Dominique Pickett to drive within one at 38-37. From that juncture, the remainder of the game went in complete favor of the Railsplitters. Lincoln Memorial used an 11-0 run, capped with a dunk by Tim Pierce to assume a 49-37 lead. That lead bulged to as many as 27 over the final 11:43 to play, as they cruised to a 75-51 victory in Tex Turner Arena.
The Railsplitters are poised to set off on a two-game road swing, beginning with a trip to Hickory, North Carolina to take on the Lenoir-Rhyne University Bears, who sit one game behind LMU in the conference standings. That game is set to tip on Saturday, January 19th at 6 pm on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne.