No. 2 Lincoln Memorial tops UVa-Wise Cavaliers

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WISE, Va – UVA-Wise dropped its game against No. 2 Lincoln Memorial University Wednesday night inside the David J. Prior Convocation Center, 94-76. Sophomore Cameron Whiteside poured in a game-high 31 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor for his fourth 30+ point performance of the season.

Senior Eric Okenchi was the only other Cavalier to score in double-figures with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Okenchi and Whiteside were perfect at the line as each went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. The Cavs recorded their best free-throw shooting of the season, connecting on 20-of-20 shots at the foul line.

UVA-Wise (5-18, 1-16 SAC) kept the pressure on in the opening half, scoring seven unanswered points to begin the game. The two teams tied the contest four times before the Cavs gained a four-point advantage on a three-pointer by redshirt junior Yesid Mosquera-Perea, 22-18, with 7:51 on the clock.

Lincoln Memorial (24-1, 17-0 SAC) climbed from behind to take a six-point lead with less than a minute to play as the Railsplitters held onto a 38-34 advantage heading into the half.

LMU was assisted by 21 points off the bench to just seven for the Cavs while UVA-Wise outscored the visitors in the paint, 16-10.

Okenchi netted 14 first-half points and collected six boards while Whiteside added 11 points in the frame. The team shot a perfect 12-for-12 from the line and were 10-for-28 (35.7 percent) from the field to start.

LMU came out hot in the second half as the Railsplitters extended their lead to 12 points with just under 18 minutes to play, 46-34. A Whiteside three cut LMU's margin back to single-digits as the Cavs trailed 50-59 at the 11:18 mark.

A three-point play for the Railsplitters pushed LMU's lead to 17 points with 8:06 to go. The visitors gained their largest advantage of the night with 30 seconds to play, up by 21 points, as LMU went on to defeat the Cavs.

Whiteside scored 20 points in the second half on 6-of-9 shooting, 4-for-6 from behind the arc. UVA-Wise shot 42.4 percent from the field, 40 percent from three, and 100 percent at the free-throw line. The Railsplitters recorded 15 points off of eight Cavalier turnovers in the closing frame.

It was the second 20+ point game of the season for Okenchi as he added six rebounds. Whiteside registered a game-high nine boards along with two assists while tying his career-high five three-point field goals made.

Senior Chance Sheffey and Mosquera-Perea each posted nine points in the loss while Mosquera-Perea dished out a career-high six assists.

Both teams registered 30 points in the paint while LMU scored 28 points off of 17 UVA-Wise turnovers. On the night, the Cavs shot 39.3 percent (24-for-61) from the field, 33.3. percent (8-for-24) from downtown, and 100 percent (20-for-20) at the line.

Head coach Blake Mellinger's team will return to action on the road at Queens (NC) Saturday for a 4 p.m. tip against the Royals.