AIKEN, SC - Fueled by a game-winning jumper by Lorenza Ross with four seconds remaining, the 13th-ranked and second-seeded Railsplitters advanced past the seventh-seeded University of North Carolina at Pembroke, 82-80, in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Saturday afternoon in Aiken, South Carolina. With the win, Lincoln Memorial University (25-5) will advance to the semifinals of the Southeast Regional, where they are set to square off against three-seeded Barton College on Sunday at 5 p.m.
The game saw 10 ties and nine lead changes in all, and was not decided until the final seconds, as Lorenza Ross hit a runner from the left side of the floor with only four seconds remaining to clinch the victory for Lincoln Memorial.
The Railsplitters faced a 39-37 deficit at the half but, Lorenza Ross and Cam Carden sparked the second-half comeback by combining for 26 points in the final 20 minutes of play. Ross (Savannah, GA) scored 16 points in the second half on 8-for-10 shooting, while Cam Carden (Clearwater, FL) added 10 in the frame with three 3-pointers and a free throw.
The final six minutes of the game were played within four points and the score was tied three times down the stretch. The final tie came at the 1:27 mark, as Brandon Winford drained one of his two free throw attempts for the Braves to knot the game at 80-80. After the Railsplitters and Braves traded missed three-pointers, Lorenza Ross broke the stalemate with a jumper with only four ticks remaining. UNC Pembroke found themselves with a game-tying attempt, however, All-Peach Belt Conference Second Team selection Shamel Brackett's jumper went begging, as LMU advanced with a 82-80 win over the Braves.
Brackett poured in 18 points in the second half for the Braves to keep the game close. Brackett was 6-for-12 from the floor in the second half with four treys.
The Braves largest lead was seven points with 4:48 left in the half following two made free throw by Brackett, while the largest lead of the first half for the Railsplitters was two points at 13:15 remaining.
2013 Daktronics Second-Team All-Region selection George Blakeney led the Braves in the first half with 10 points and six rebounds.South Atlantic Conference Second-Team member Jake Troyli led the way for the Railsplitters scoring 12 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the field in the first half.
The Railsplitters were led to victory by the four-headed attack of Lorenza Ross, Jake Troyli, Cam Carden and Vincent Bailey, as those four combined for 57 of the team's 82 points. In addition to his 16 second-half points, Ross added four in the first half to tally a team-leading 20 points to go along with four rebounds and an assist in 36 minutes of action. Carden netted 13 points for the game behind three three-pointers, while Jake Troyli (Largo, FL) finished with 14 points on five-of-seven shooting from the floor. Bailey (Jennings, FL) notched 10 points and a team-high five rebounds, pacing the Railsplitters to a 27-23 margin of victory on the glass. Coming into today's match, UNC Pembroke ranked third in the country in rebounding margin, while the Railsplitters ranked ninth.
Brackett led the Braves with a game-high 27 points. George Blakeney was the only other Brave in double-figures with 14 points. Blakeney secured a double-double by adding a game-high 10 boards and two blocks.
The game was played well with only 20 total turnovers and both teams shooting over 50 percent for the game. The Railsplitters turned the ball over 11 times and the Braves turned it over nine times.
Lincoln Memorial finished the game shooting 60 percent (33-for-55). They hit 45.5 percent (5-for-11) from behind the arc and 84.6 percent (11-for-13) from the line.
UNC Pembroke shot 50.9 percent (27-53) from the field and 50 percent (8-for-16) from three-point range. They shot 81.8 percent (18-for-22) on free throws.
The Railsplitters head into the semifinals of the Southeast Regional for the second-consecutive season with the win. On Sunday afternoon, Lincoln Memorial will look to advance to the Southeast Regional Final, as they are set to square off with three-seeded Barton. That game is slated to tip at 5 p.m. in Aiken, South Carolina.