HARTSVILLE, S.C.- A dominant opening half helped the Railsplitters remain unbeaten all-time against the Coker Cobras with a 96-67 victory at the DeLoach Center on Saturday afternoon in Hartsville, S.C.
In a completely one-sided affair, Lincoln Memorial (14-4, 9-2 SAC) built a 27-point halftime lead and led by as many as 38 points in the second half to move to 13-0 all-time against the Cobras (3-15, 1-10 SAC), who suffered their sixth consecutive loss and remained in last place in the SAC standings.
"I thought our guys came out with really good energy and a sense of urgency that allowed us to get off to a great start," said head coach Josh Schertz. "I thought we did a good job of responding to some of the areas that were exposed against Tusculum, mainly our team defense and taking care of the ball against pressure."
The Railsplitters shot 50 percent from the field, including a 58 percent mark in the first half, and turned the ball over just 11 times total after committing 15 turnovers in the second half alone against Tusculum. Lincoln Memorial also held the Cobras to 37 percent shooting, including a 32 percent clip with a 1-for-9 effort from three in the first half.
Six players hit double figures for the Railsplitters. Kamaran Calhoun's streak of consecutive 20-point games ended at three, but the redshirt-junior still led all players with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and eight rebounds. Anthony Brown amassed 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Rhondi Hackett had 14 points, eight boards and two blocks, while Cameron Henry also chipped in 14 points. Alex Dahling buried four threes to account for 12 points, while Courvoisier McCauley added 10 points in 13 minutes off the bench.
After missing the last three games, leading scorer Cornelius Taylor returned to play 14 minutes off the bench. He contributed nine points and five rebounds over that span.
Marquis Green and Chase Brewington led the Coker attack with 10 points apiece. Khalil Halls had eight points, while Larry Cooper and Roy Ellis added seven apiece. No other Coker players produced more than six.
The Railsplitters needed just one half to effectively put the game away, as Lincoln Memorial amassed its third-highest first-half point total while allowing Coker to hit only 10 baskets.
A bucket by Green followed by a triple from Cooper gave the Cobras a 5-3 lead early, but Henry and Hackett scored four points apiece, capped by a thunderous dunk by Hackett, during an 8-0 run that put the Railsplitters in front 11-5 with 16:08 left in the half.
Green briefly halted the Railsplitters' run with a jumper, but Lincoln Memorial promptly scored seven unanswered points after that to pull ahead 18-7 and force the Cobras to burn a timeout with 14:55 remaining.
Back-to-back buckets for the Cobras cut the Railsplitters' lead to seven at the 13-minute mark, but Lincoln Memorial promptly reeled off 10 unanswered points to assume a commanding 28-11 lead. Four different LMU players scored during that run, highlighted by a triple from Taylor.
The Cobras again answered over the next passage of play, closing the gap to 12 with a quick flurry. However, a bucket from Calhoun and a three-point play by Brown sparked an 11-0 run that expanded the Railsplitters' lead to 44-20 with 4:41 left in the half.
The LMU lead ballooned to as many as 30 down the stretch as the Railsplitters carried a 55-27 cushion into the locker room.
The Railsplitters quickly expanded the lead to 63-29 early in the second half, opening with an 8-2 run capped by back-to-back buckets by Brown.
The lead would not dip below 28 after that until the Cobras scored nine unanswered points to cut the deficit to 80-55 with 7:13 left.
However, Lincoln Memorial followed that by scoring six unanswered points to push the lead back over 30, where it would remain until Coker cut the final deficit to 29 with back-to-back threes.
- The Railsplitters have now won their last seven matchups against Coker by a minimum of 15 points. Lincoln Memorial also improved to 6-0 all-time in Hartsville.
- The Railsplitters extended their winning streak to four with the victory and improved to 9-1 in their last 10 games.
- Lincoln Memorial scored 24 points off turnovers compared to only five for the Cobras.
The Railsplitters head to nearby Jefferson City, Tenn., to face the rival Carson-Newman Eagles on Wednesday. Tip-off inside of Holt Fieldhouse is set for 8 p.m.