KANSAS CITY, MO -- Heading into the final week of the regular-season schedule, the Lincoln Memorial University men's basketball team used a pair of statement victories to leap to No. 12 in the latest NABC/Division II Coaches Poll, which was unveiled last Tuesday afternoon.
Lincoln Memorial (20-4, 13-3 SAC) opened this past week by upending rival Carson-Newman University, 69-64, on Wednesday evening to sweep the regular-season series over the Eagles. The Railsplitters trailed by a 52-50 margin with 9:19 left in regulation, however, they used an 11-0 rally over the ensuing 3:56 to take command of the contest. The 'Splitters finished with a 52.9% effort from the field with Vincent Bailey, Jake Troyli and Lorenza Ross pouring in 12 points apiece in a balanced offensive assault en route to the win.
On Saturday evening, the Railsplitters extended their winning streak to four by surging late in the second half to capture a 73-64 victory over the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears. The Railsplitters and Bears were locked in a tight battle, with LMU holding a 46-45 lead at the 12:08 mark of regulation, until the 'Splitters closed with a 27-19 advantage over that final 12-minute stretch to grab the win. Once again, Lincoln Memorial finished with an efficient mark from the field, tallying a 50.9% clip headlined by Vincent Bailey's game-high 21 points on nine-of-11 shooting.
With another week in the NABC/Division II Coaches Poll, Lincoln Memorial extended their South Atlantic Conference record streak to 40-consecutive weeks ranked nationally.
The Railsplitters continue to be led offensively by the four-headed attack of Jake Troyli, Vincent Bailey, Wally Jones and Lorenza Ross. Troyli (Largo, FL) narrowly leads the team in scoring with 13.8 points per appearance while ranking second on the team in rebounding at 6.5 boards per. Hot on his trail, Vincent Bailey (Jennings, FL) jumped to 13.0 points per game after a solid week and he continues to lead the team in rebounding with 7.4 boards per. Bailey's rebounding average places him fourth overall in the South Atlantic Conference in that category. Wally Jones (Greensboro, NC) is pouring in 11.2 per while Lorenza Ross (Savannah, GA) is also in double-figures with 10.1 points per.
Lincoln Memorial has also been aided by the efforts of seniors Cam Carden (Clearwater, FL) and Dustin Craig (Knoxville, TN). Carden is putting in 9.5 points per and currently sits 18 points away from becoming the 23rd player in the history of the LMU men's basketball program to join the 1,000 Point Club. Craig is chipping in with seven points per and ranks third on the team with 5.9 rebounds per game.
The Railsplitters are poised to cap the 2012-13 regular-season schedule this week with a chance to earn a share of the South Atlantic Conference title. That road begins on Wednesday, as the Railsplitters are set to duel the Wingate University Bulldogs in Wingate, North Carolina. The Railsplitters and Bulldogs are knotted in a tie for first in the SAC at 13-3 in the league standings. A win on Wednesday would assure at least a share of the SAC regular season championship. Lincoln Memorial concludes the regular season on Saturday evening, as they welcome Catawba College to Harrogate, Tennessee for the regular-season finale. Both of the Railsplitters' final two games tip at 8 p.m.