HARROGATE, Tenn. - An ice-cold shooting night doomed the Railsplitters as the No. 9 Queens Royals used a late 10-0 run to take the lead for good in a 78-70 win inside of Tex Turner Arena on Saturday night.
In a dramatic back-and-forth game that featured an absurd 19 ties and seven lead changes, Lincoln Memorial (14-6, 9-4 SAC) led for over 18 minutes compared to a hair over 15 minutes for the Royals (20-3, 12-1 SAC). However, Queens made the final push and limited the Railsplitters to a 1-for-9 finish from the field to extend its winning streak in the series to three games.
With the loss, Lincoln Memorial has now lost back-to-back South Atlantic Conference games for the first time since February 2012, while it also marked the Railsplitters' first regular-season home defeat since December 2016.
Lincoln Memorial never could establish a rhythm offensively against an aggressive Queens' defensive unit, as the Railsplitters shot a meager 37.5 percent, including an 8-for-36 effort from three. LMU went just 9-for-31 in the second half - a 29 percent clip.
Queens wasn't much better offensively at 40 percent for the game. However, the Royals hit 12 threes on 24 tries and finished with a 48 percent mark in the second half. They also went 14-for-16 at the free-throw line over the final 20 minutes.
Alex Dahling paced the Railsplitters with 15 points to go with four rebounds, while Anthony Brown chipped in 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Brown was the only one of Lincoln Memorial's top-four scorers to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, as Cornelius Taylor and Cameron Henry contributed 10 points apiece on a combined 5-for-22 shooting.
Steven Perriere provided a spark off the bench with eight first-half points, while Kamaran Calhoun posted six points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
Daniel Carr was the star of the show again for the Royals. After going for 22 points in Queens' 90-62 win against the Railsplitters earlier this season in Charlotte, Carr went off for 26 points on 7-for-14 shooting.
Lincoln Memorial kept Queens' leading scorer Shaun Willett in check, limiting the senior to 11 points and 10 rebounds across 22 foul-plagued minutes. But Blake Morrow picked up the slack for the Royals, scoring 16 points in 15 minutes off the bench.
Both teams started slow offensively as the Royals missed 16 of their first 20 shots while the Railsplitters didn't make their first shot until the 15:36 mark and started 6-for-16 overall.
But the two sides started to get it rolling midway through the first half, trading three-pointers on four straight possessions, with Dahling capping that run by putting the Railsplitters in front 23-22 at the 5:40 mark.
After a Lewis Diankulu jumper put Queens back in front, Perriere and Taylor knocked down four straight free throws to give the Railsplitters a 27-24 edge.
Queens responded with four free throws of their own, but the Railsplitters raced ahead 34-28 with two minutes left thanks to a 7-0 scoring run.
However, Carr would go on to score the final eight points of the half for the Royals, including a banked-in three at the buzzer to send the two teams into the locker room tied at 36-36.
The Royals made the first run in the second half, outscoring the Railsplitters 8-2 early on the back of four points from Carr to pull ahead 44-38.
Queens maintained a five-point cushion until Taylor briefly caught fire, putting in a layup followed by back-to-back threes to push the Railsplitters in front 50-49.
The Royals answered again with a jumper from Diankulu and a three by Carr, but Dahling single-handedly powered a 7-0 scoring run over the next stretch with two threes and a free throw. That gave LMU a 59-54 cushion with 11:23 to play.
But Lincoln Memorial wouldn't score again after that for over four minutes as Queens reeled off a 10-0 scoring run, capped by back-to-back threes from Jermaine Patterson and Morrow, to assume a 64-59 lead with 7:38 left.
The Railsplitters never led again after that as Queens held off the home team down the stretch.
Lincoln Memorial cut the deficit to 69-67 with five minutes left in regulation, but Carr capitalized on a second-chance opportunity to extend the lead back to four.
The Railsplitters pulled back to within three on the ensuing possession and got a stop on the other end, but a turnover ended their next possession, while Diankulu hit a free throw on the other end to make it a two-possession game.
The Railsplitters had multiple quality looks over the final three minutes, but wouldn't score again until Calhoun cut it to a 74-70 game with 56 seconds left with a bucket.
That was as close as it would get, though, as the Royals iced it at the free-throw line.
- The loss puts the Railsplitters' streak of six straight SAC regular-season titles in real jeopardy as they fall a full three games back of Queens in the standings with seven games left to play.
- Lincoln Memorial was outrebounded 40-32 and allowed eight offensive boards.
- The Railsplitters scored 19 points off 18 Queens turnovers.
Lincoln Memorial hosts Anderson at Tex Turner Arena on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.