KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Lincoln Memorial University men’s basketball team dropped to 18th in the latest NABC/Division II Poll, but extended their streak of consecutive weeks ranked to 34, which ranks among the longest active streaks in the NCAA Division II.
The Railsplitters moved to 10-2 on the season and 3-1 in South Atlantic Conference play after this past week, which included an 86-58 win at Mars Hill and a stunning 67-66 loss in the waning seconds to Anderson in Tex Turner Arena, snapping a four-game winning streak for Lincoln Memorial.
This marks the 34th straight week LMU has been ranked, a South Atlantic Conference record dating back to Dec. 7, 2010.
The Railsplitters have implemented a balanced offensive unit, with six players averaging more than eight points per game, to rank second in the SAC in scoring (83.8 points per contest). Jake Troyli leads that group with 14.3 points per game while also ranking third on the team with 5.6 rebounds per game. Wally Jones ranks second on the team in scoring at 12.6 points per to go along with 2.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per outing. The senior guard leads the team with 17 steals and ranks second in the South Atlantic Conference in three-point field goal percentage (50.9 percent).
Junior forward Vincent Bailey is scoring 12.2 points per contest and leading the team in rebounding at 8.6 per appearance, which ranks third in the conference. Since returning from injury on Nove. 28, Bailey has tallied four double-doubles to lead the team in that category. He has been aided in the post by senior Dustin Craig, who has compiled an 8.8 scoring average and a 6.8 per-game rebounding figure. Craig leads the South Atlantic Conference in field-goal percentage, as the Knoxville native has made good on 46 of his 69 shot attempts this season for a 66.7-percent clip.
Guards Lorenza Ross and Cam Carden have also provided consistent offensive production for the Railsplitters this season. Ross is scoring 10.3 points per contest and dishing out a team-leading 3.3 assists per game. Carden, a senior out of Clearwater, Fla., has notched a scoring average of 9.3 per game while leading the team in minutes played (33.6 minutes per) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5:1).
The Railsplitters also rank among the elite defensive teams in the South Atlantic Conference, as they rank first in opponents’ field-goal percentage (38.6 percent) and third in opponents’ three-point percentage (30.9 percent). The Railsplitters rank fifth in all of NCAA Division II in three-point field-goal percentage (43), 10th in scoring margin (+17), 11th in field-goal percentage defense and 14th in field-goal percentage (50.1).
The Railsplitters are primed for one of their toughest stretches of the season in the approaching weeks, as the plot in South Atlantic Conference play is set to thicken. LMU will welcome Brevard College to town on Wednesday for a SAC battle prior to two-consecutive tests on the road in league play. The ‘Splitters are slated to venture to Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday and archrival Carson-Newman on January 23. L-R sits one game behind the Railsplitters in the SAC standings with a 2-2 mark and a 9-3 mark overall, while the Eagles are 3-1 in SAC play and 10-2 on the season. Lincoln Memorial will then welcome Wingate to Tex Turner Arena on Jan. 26. The Bulldogs are currently unbeaten in the South Atlantic Conference and hold an 8-4 record overall.
Tonight’s game against Brevard is set to tip at 8 p.m. in Tex Turner Arena. The Lady Railsplitters take on the Tornado women at 6 p.m.