ANDERSON, S.C. — Luquon Choice broke the South Atlantic Conference career record for 3-pointers as the 25th-ranked Railsplitters (11-4, 6-3 SAC) cruised to a 94-77 win over the Anderson Trojans (7-8, 5-4 SAC) on Wednesday evening in Anderson, South Carolina.
After suffering a heartbreaking, two-point loss in overtime at No. 3 Queens on Monday night, Lincoln Memorial made a quick turnaround and bounced back in convincing fashion in the Abney Center, building a 22-point halftime lead before breezing to the finish line against the upstart Trojans.
“I thought we played our best 16 minutes of the season to end the first half,” LMU head men’s basketball coach Josh Schertz said. “Outside of that we were extremely uneven and credit Anderson for outcompeting us and outworking us the entire second half. I thought we showed character in how we responded on the road in a difficult environment after Monday, but we obviously have to get a lot better and become more consistent with our effort and execution.”
Choice scored 21 points on a 7-for-11 mark from three-point range, bringing his career total to 343 to surpass Carson-Newman’s Ish Sanders for the South Atlantic Conference record. The Laurens, South Carolina native broke LMU’s career record earlier this season when he hit triple number 298 against Kentucky Wesleyan on Nov. 18.
Chris Perry also turned in a dominant performance for the Railsplitters, recording 25 points on 12-for-16 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Paul Woodson scored a career-high 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting, grabbed five rebounds and handed out five assists in 31 minutes off the bench.
Cornelius Taylor produced 12 points and four assists over 34 minutes of work. Dorian Pinson finished in triple-double territory with 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
As a team, Lincoln Memorial was excellent on the offensive end, shooting 58.7 percent while going 9-for-19 from three-point territory. The Railsplitters were also nearly perfect from the free-throw line with an 11-for-13 effort. LMU handed out 18 assists on 37 made field goals.
The Railsplitters accomplished that while holding the Trojans to 42.4 percent shooting, including a dreadful 10-for-26 effort (38.5 percent) in the first half. Over that same span, Lincoln Memorial went 22-for-34 from the field for a 65 percent clip to establish an insurmountable lead.
Anderson started red hot, making four of its first five shots including three 3-pointers to race out to a 13-6 lead at the 16-minute mark. However, following a quick timeout, Lincoln Memorial responded with a 9-0 spurt to take a 15-13 lead on a Hunter Spaw 3-pointer with 13:02 left in the half.
That would be just the start of the Railsplitters’ run, as a triple by Choice at 9:11 made it a 24-17 lead, while an old-fashioned three-point play from Taylor less than two minutes later increased LMU’s advantage to 31-19.
The Railsplitters would never lead by less than nine points after that, while a 14-0 flurry that consumed nearly the final four minutes of the half expanded Lincoln Memorial’s cushion to 52-27. That would have been LMU’s halftime lead if not for a desperation three from Warren Vinson at the buzzer, which made it 52-30 at the break.
The Trojans made things a bit interesting in the second half, but the Railsplitters still never led by less than 11 points.
Vinson scored eight straight points for the Trojans to power a 10-0 Anderson run that closed the gap to 62-51 with 13:08 to play, but LMU held steady and eventually used a three by Choice and a bucket from Woodson to extend the lead back to 77-60 at the 7:29 mark.
The Trojans whittled the Railsplitters’ lead down to 13 points at 86-73 following a Jeremy Bouton three at 3:11, but Perry scored on the next two LMU possessions to halt any mounting momentum. Anderson was able to muster just two points on a pair of Shawn Benard free throws over the final two minutes, as the Railsplitters iced the 94-77 victory.
In addition to his 21-point performance, Choice did an outstanding defensive job on Randall Shaw, the SAC’s leading scorer. Shaw was limited to just 13 points – eight below his average – on 5-for-12 shooting. Maurice Howard and Warren Vinson led the Trojans with 16 points apiece, while Jeremy Bouton and Shawn Benard added eight points each.
The Railsplitters return to Tex Turner Arena on Saturday to face the Catawba Indians at 4 p.m. Catawba has lost two of its last three games after falling 97-82 at Wingate on Wednesday night.