TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — 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.
Despite trailing by as many as 17 in the first half, the Railsplitters battled tough against the 25th ranked Seminoles and got as close as four points with 1:42 to play.
The Railsplitters were led 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.
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 finished with 10 points in 30 minutes on the floor for the Railsplitters, pairing those figures with two assists and three steals.
Nine different players scored as the Railsplitters shot 52.5% from the floor against a team boasting three players standing taller than seven feet.
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 MVP, was held 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 added 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,” said LMU 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 White in the first minute of play to force a timeout from Schertz. 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.
FSU maintained that cushion until Wally Jones drained a three to cut the lead to 20-14 as the first half neared the 12-minute mark. A 13-4 run, capped with a free throw from White to pushed the Seminole lead to 33-15 with 8:10 left in the first period play.
Florida State enjoyed their biggest lead of the night ater White’s 3-pointer made it 41-24 at the 5:24 mark of the first half. LMU chipped away from there with a Wally Jones 3-ball cutting the lead to 12 with 1:40 to go and the Railsplitters trailed 50-37 at the half.
Coming out of the break the Seminoles jumped back out to a 16-point cushion on a jumper from Snaer at the 18-minute mark. However, LMU continued to battle back and a Troyli jumper made it 54-43.
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 get within 67-60 by the 6:56 mark. The ‘Noles used an 8-2 run over the next two-plus minutes to assume a 75-62 advantage.
The momentum swung in LMU’s favor from there and Cardin knocked down a 3 to cut the deficit to six. 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.
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.
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, LMU responded by outscoring the Seminoles 38-33 in the second half of play.
The Railsplitters are slated to open the 2012-13 campaign on Nov. 10, as they host Ohio Mid-Western in Tex Turner Arena. That game will tipoff at 8 p.m.