HARROGATE, Tenn. - The Railsplitters' run of South Atlantic Conference dominance didn't show any signs of slowing down on Wednesday night at Tex Turner Arena, as Lincoln Memorial opened SAC play by collecting its 35th consecutive conference victory with a 90-68 dismantling of the Carson-Newman Eagles.
Lincoln Memorial (4-2, 1-0 SAC) entered the 208th all-time meeting against the Eagles (5-1, 0-1 SAC) without a loss in SAC play since January 2017 while also riding a four-game winning streak against Carson-Newman that started in early 2017 as well.
Behind an utterly dominant defensive performance and another sizzling offensive outburst on their home court, the Railsplitters ensured that both of those streaks remained intact.
Lincoln Memorial shot 47 percent from the field and knocked down 13 three-pointers, but its defense was the catalyst as the Railsplitters limited Carson-Newman, who entered the game ranked fifth in the nation in field-goal percentage offense, to a dismal 34 percent shooting, including a 4-for-18 mark from three.
That defensive effort ultimately sparked everything that happened on the offensive end of the court, as the Railsplitters scored 27 fast-break points and 38 points in the paint.
"Good defense, particularly with this team, usually triggers transition offense, which is where this group is at its best when it can run, get out and make plays," said head coach Josh Schertz. "I thought we came in and really had good force and energy defensively.
"For this group, offense is going to be hit and miss a little bit," he added. "There's nothing wrong with that. We are a young group and a work in progress. This team's identity has got to be tied into its defense. We have to play with much more toughness and be able to sustain that over a 40-minute window. Today was a significant step forward."
Cornelius Taylor, Anthony Brown and Alex Dahling led the Railsplitters offensively. Taylor poured in 18 points with four three-pointers while adding four rebounds and two assists. Brown finished in triple-double territory again with 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds while connecting on 8-of-13 from the field. Dahling had another stellar shooting performance, following up his 19-point showing at Virginia-Wise by burying five of his nine three-point attempts to score 17 points.
Five others chipped in at least five points. Kamaran Calhoun had 12 with a team-high eight rebounds, Courvouisier McCauley added seven, and Cameron Henry, Julius Brown and Ricky Clark notched five apiece.
Grant Teichmann was the only player in double figures for the Eagles, who suffered its fifth consecutive loss to the Railsplitters by double digits. Teichmann scored 12 points and led Carson-Newman with eight rebounds in 40 minutes of action. Reece Anderson had nine, Parker Role' had eight, and Cameron Andre, Cameron Holmes and Luke Brenegan had seven apiece.
The Railsplitters never trailed and led outright for 39 minutes total.
Dahling, Henry and Taylor hit three-pointers on three of LMU's first four possessions to put the Railsplitters out to a commanding 9-0 lead and force an early timeout less than three minutes into the game.
A three-pointer from Anderson put the Eagles on the board and briefly stopped the bleeding, but a bucket from Anthony Brown quickly extended the lead to 13-5 by the 16:59 mark.
After a pair of free throws from Anderson cut the Railsplitters' lead to 19-9, Lincoln Memorial scored six unanswered points to pull ahead 25-9 with 12:57 left in the half.
A basket from Calhoun kept the Railsplitters in front 29-14 with 11:17 remaining, but Lincoln Memorial would endure a more than six-minute scoring drought after that. However, Carson-Newman was unable to make much of a dent in the Railsplitters' lead during that stretch, as the Eagles managed to only close the gap to 29-20 by the nine-minute mark.
A basket from Calhoun with 5:11 on the clock snapped that scoreless drought, while Dahling followed with another three and Brown buried a free throw to quickly extend the lead back to 35-20.
The LMU lead never dipped back into single digits again as Taylor drilled a three to end the half and send the Railsplitters into the break with a commanding 46-26 cushion.
The Railsplitters never led by less than 20 in the second half, while a triple from Julius Brown at the 11:11 mark extended the lead to 31 at 74-43.
The home team led by as many as 35 points down the stretch, but the Eagles ended the game on a 12-1 run while the Railsplitters went scoreless for the final three minutes to trim the final margin to 22.