HARROGATE, Tenn. - Redshirt-junior Cornelius Taylor scored a career-high 34 points and became the program's 30th member of the 1,000-point club as the Railsplitters cruised to their 36th consecutive South Atlantic Conference victory with a 99-72 win over Coker on Saturday evening at Tex Turner Arena.
Lincoln Memorial (5-2, 2-0 SAC) started slow, falling into a 7-0 hole while trailing for over 10 minutes in the first half. However, the Railsplitters caught fire and buried 15 three-pointers to improve to 11-0 all-time against Coker (2-5, 0-2 SAC) while extending their season-long winning streak to four.
The Railsplitters were ice cold early, missing their first four shots and going down 15-10 after a 4-for-18 start from the field. Lincoln Memorial trailed 21-16 with eight minutes to go in the first half as they struggled to contend with Coker's size and athleticism.
"Coker came out and punched us in the mouth early," head coach Josh Schertz said. "They were very aggressive, very physical and they play very hard. Our guys were on their heels a little bit."
Lincoln Memorial settled in after that sluggish offensive start, though, outscoring the Cobras 28-9 over the final eight minutes of the half to take a 44-30 lead into the break.
The Railsplitters shot 28-for-48 over the final 28 minutes and finished the game shooting 48.5 percent, which included a 15-for-31 clip from three-point range.
"We started moving the ball, our defense tightened up and our rebounding improved," said Schertz. "That got us out."
Lincoln Memorial scored 36 fast-break points and went 12-for-18 on layups, tallying 32 points in the paint.
Taylor led the charge offensively, scoring a career-high 34 points on 10-for-17 shooting. The junior matched a career-high mark with seven three-pointers and scored his 1,000th career point on a three-pointer early in the second half.
"He was sublime," Schertz said of Taylor's performance. "I loved that he was efficient tonight and didn't try to force it."
The Railsplitters received contributions across the board as Anthony Brown was spectacular once against with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting with 11 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and no turnovers. Courvoisier McCauley went 3-for-6 from three to score a career-high 14 points, while Julius Brown added 10 points with a pair of threes and three steals.
Freshman Ricky Clark made his first career start and contributed eight points on 4-for-5 shooting. He also combined with Taylor to hold Coker's leading scorer Khalil Halls to 9-for-23 shooting on the defensive end of the floor.
Halls led the Cobras with 25 points. Larry Cooper was the only other player to reach double figures for Coker, scoring 13 on 5-for-7 shooting.
Coker ended the game shooting 39 percent from the field.
After taking a 14-point into the break, the Railsplitters blew the game open early in the second half, as McCauley canned three triples while Taylor added two more to extend the lead to 61-37 with 16 minutes left.
The lead was never less than 19 points after that, while a pair of free throws from Cameron Henry pushed it past 30 at 91-60 with just over four minutes remaining.
The Railsplitters have now won four consecutive games by margins of 27, 22, 10 and 50, respectively, and have seemingly turned a corner since dropping back-to-back games early in the season.
The young LMU squad is all of the suddne playing its best basketball as it prepares for a much-anticipated matchup against No. 25 Queens next Saturday in Charlotte, N.C.
"Every time we play we are getting experience," Schertz said. "You can't bypass experience. We have so many young guys and so many new guys that are playing, so every time we hit the court we are learning.
"I told them in the locker room that we are a lot better team than we were two weeks ago in Memphis. We are a lot better team than we were in Aiken three weeks ago," he added. "The challenge is are we a lot better team when we take the floor in Charlotte next Saturday than we are today."