Luke Bolanos, Director of Athletic Communications
HARROGATE – For the second-straight outing, the Lincoln Memorial University men’s basketball team scored 109 points and torched the nets with better than 65 percent shooting Saturday afternoon inside B. Frank “Tex” Turner Arena. The second-ranked Railsplitters moved to 5-0 on the season and closed out 2020 with a 109-62 non-conference home rout of National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) member Campbellsville University Harrodsburg, marking the first time in program history LMU has gone unblemished for an entire calendar year.
Winning their nation-leading 37th consecutive game, the Railsplitters shot a blistering 67.6 percent going 46-for-68 from the field and 13-for-26 from three-point range. The fourth-highest shooting mark in a single game in school history, the Blue and Gray racked up 36 assists to tie the second-most ever in an LMU contest. The Railsplitters’ 46 made field goals were also the seventh-most in program history.
Owning a plus-20 advantage on the glass, LMU had 15 players see action on the court as 12 different Railsplitters scored. Tallying 67 points in the second half behind a scorching 79.4 percent shooting clip, LMU went a remarkable 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) from deep across the final 20 minutes of play. Going 27-for-34 from the floor, the Railsplitters recorded an astonishing 23 second-half assists.
Led by redshirt senior guard Devin Whitfield’s season-high 32 points on 13-for-20 shooting and four three pointers, LMU got second-half double-figure scoring from freshman guard/forward Jordan Walters (12) and redshirt sophomore guard/forward Xavier Bledson (11). With 54 points off their bench, the Railsplitters scored an impressive 66 points in the paint and earned 24 points off the fast break.
LMU limited the the visiting Pioneers (1-2) to just 36.1 percent (22-of-61) shooting and CU Harrodsburg was 4-for-20 from distance, turning the ball over 19 times thanks in large part the Railsplitters’ 11 steals.
Despite a lackluster opening 13 minutes of play, LMU found its rhythm near the end of the first half and was unconscious offensively after the break. Leading by just two at 19-17 through the first 10 minutes of game action, the Railsplitters outscored the Pioneers 23-11 over the final 10 minutes of the opening half. Taking a 14-point, 42-28 lead into halftime, LMU shot 55.9 percent (19-of-34) across the initial 20 minutes of play but went only 4-for-12 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
A 7-3 CU Harrodsburg run in the first 2:11 of the second half made it a 10-point game at 45-35 with just under 18 minutes to go. However, the Railsplitters were nothing shy of dominant across the final 17:38 as a Whitfield three ignited a game-changing 14-0 run over the next three minutes of play. Leading 62-35 at the 14:33 mark, LMU’s advantage ballooned to 44 as the Railsplitters outscored the Pioneers 28-11 over the next eight minutes to pull away 90-46 on a Walters dunk.
Continuing to execute flawlessly on offense, LMU increased its lead to the largest of the afternoon at 52 with just under two minutes remaining when freshman guard Tyler McKinney’s layup put the hosts up 104-52.
Bledson registered his second career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 10 assists in only 20 minutes of action, while Walters scored a career-best 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting in only his third game donning the Blue and Gray. Junior guard Julius Brown also reached double figures, scoring 11, grabbing a career-high tying five rebounds, dishing out four assists and making a team-best three steals. Reigning South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week Jordan Guest had eight points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes of play.
Redshirt freshmen guards Me’Kell Burries and Luke Bartemes, along with redshirt sophomore guard Chase Rankin, each scored a career-high seven points. Both McKinney and redshirt freshman guard Luke Hedrick, who made his Railsplitter debut, scored their first career points. Freshman guard/forward Nekhi Smith also made his LMU debut, pulling down a pair of rebounds, handing out an assist and earning a steal.
CU Harrodsburg was led by Aamaj Platt’s 14 points and Antoine Darby’s 11 points, five boards and four steals.
The Railsplitters will have a two-week break from play for Christmas, returning to game action the day after New Year’s on Saturday, Jan. 2 when LMU hosts Tusculum inside Tex Turner Arena for a 2 p.m. tip. On Wednesday, Jan. 6, the Railsplitters welcome Anderson to Harrogate before taking on Lenoir-Rhyne (Jan. 9) and first-year SAC member Limestone (Jan. 13) on the road.