The 12th-ranked Railsplitters sealed the outright 2012-13 South Atlantic Conference regular season championship with a decisive 82-65 victory over the Catawba College Indians in the regular-season finale Saturday evening at Tex Turner Arena.
Lincoln Memorial University (22-4, 15-3 SAC) rides into the postseason on a six-game winning streak following the win over Catawba (9-17, 6-12 SAC). With Wednesday’s win over the Wingate Bulldogs, the Railsplitters locked up the No. 1 seed for the 2013 Food Lion SAC Tournament, notching a match up against the No. 8 seed Tusculum College Pioneers on Wednesday evening in Tex Turner Arena.
With the win over the Indians on Saturday night, the 12th-ranked Railsplitters claimed an outright South Atlantic Conference regular season championship, as they finished the season with a 15-3 league mark, one game ahead of the pace set by Anderson and Wingate.
By earning that championship, the Railsplitters garnered their third SAC championship crown in the five-year stead of head coach Josh Schertz, as Lincoln Memorial captured both the 2010-11 regular season and tournament championships.
The Railsplitters head into the 2013 Food Lion SAC Tournament in the midst of an historic stretch, as they have accumulated 95 wins to only 22 losses over the past four seasons. During that span, the Railsplitters have amassed a current South Atlantic Record with 40-consecutive weeks ranked in the NABC/Division II national poll.
Mixed in amongst the coronation of the Railsplitters’ 2012-13 regular season championship, the men’s basketball team honored their five seniors competing in their final regular-season game at Tex Turner Arena. A presentation in honor of Cam Carden, Dustin Craig, Wally Jones, Jairocey Simpson and Jake Troyli was held prior to the start of tonight’s contest.
The Railsplitters left little doubt of the outcome of the contest, as they struck first in a wire-to-wire victory over the Indians. Lincoln Memorial amassed as large as a 24-point lead in the opening half of play before going into the break with a 42-25 advantage.
In the second stanza, Lincoln Memorial never led by less than 13 and pushed their lead back to as many as 24 before cruising to an 82-65 win, avenging a 73-63 loss to the Indians from earlier in the season.
Senior Jake Troyli put the finishing touch on the Railsplitters’ regular season championship with a thunderous dunk with 10 seconds left in regulation.
In characteristic fashion that has been the staple of the Railsplitters’ play this season, Lincoln Memorial displayed workman-like efficiency on the offensive end of the court. They finished with a 44.2 percent mark from the field, while implementing a crippling defense, which held the Indians to only 33.8 percent shooting.
Five players crossed the double-digit scoring plateau for the Railsplitters, headlined by Vincent Bailey’s 17-point performance. Bailey drained seven of his 14 attempts and chipped in on the glass with seven rebounds in only 22 minutes of work.
Lorenza Ross bolstered the LMU back court with 16 points, also on a seven-for-14 effort, and made his impact felt on the glass with eight rebounds.
Senior Dustin Craig capped the regular season with a double-double performance, tallying 14 points and spearheading a 50-44 advantage on the glass for the Railsplitters by matching a game-high figure with 12 rebounds.
Jake Troyli poured in 11 points in 27 minutes of work to go along with six rebounds, while Cam Carden compiled eight points, six boards and three assists.
Bailey, Troyli and Craig paced the Railsplitters to a commanding 60-26 advantage in the paint, as those three combined for 42 points. The Railsplitters also corralled 18 offensive rebounds which were turned into 24 second chance points, while also using seven Indian turnovers to notch 14 points.
Catawba was paced offensively by Tyrece Little, as he poured in a game-high 23 points and matched a game-high figure with 12 rebounds to round out his double-double. Lee Martin added 17 points and six rebounds, while Vismantas Marijosium tallied nine points and nine rebounds.
With the regular season in the books, the No. 12 Railsplitters will turn their attention to postseason play.
By virtue of their top-four finish, the Railsplitters will host their quarterfinal matchup of the 2013 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament.
The top-seeded Railsplitters are set to welcome eight-seeded Tusculum College to Tex Turner Arena for a spot in the semifinals, to be held in Greenville, S.C., on the line. The game is slated to tip at 7 p.m. on the LMU campus.