KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a pair of signature wins this past week, the Lincoln Memorial University men’s basketball team jumped four spots to No.11 in the NABC/Division II Coaches Poll.
The Railsplitters become only the 12th team in the 53-year history of the poll to be featured in the top-25 for 50 consecutive weeks. LMU’s 50-week streak is a South Atlantic Conference record and stands as the fourth-longest active streak in the nation.
With its No.11 ranking, Lincoln Memorial ascends to its highest point of the season while matching the high mark of the 2012-13 campaign. LMU has been represented in the NABC poll for over three consecutive years, as they broke into the national spotlight on Dec. 8, 2010, for the first time in school history.
The Railsplitters extended their winning streak to seven, improving to 11-1 on the season and 7-1 in South Atlantic Conference play, with two high profile league victories this past week.
Lincoln Memorial opened the week on Jan. 8 with a 77-74 win at Anderson. That victory avenged an 84-79 overtime loss — LMU’s lone blemish of the season — to the Trojans on Nov. 26. LMU led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but Anderson cut the deficit to 71-69 with only 50 seconds left to play. Junior Lorenza Ross gave the Railsplitters some breathing room with a three-pointer in their next possession, and LMU did just enough at the free-throw line in the final seconds to ensure a narrow victory.
On Jan. 11, the ‘Splitters broke away from a 35-35 halftime tie to capture an 81-67 triumph over Wingate.With that win, Lincoln Memorial topped the back-to-back SAC Tournament champions for the ninth time in 11 tries, while rebutting a loss to the Bulldogs in last season’s SAC title game.
The Railsplitters have seen success on the court this season thanks to an efficient offense and a gritty all-around defensive effort. LMU ranks seventh in the nation and leads the conference in field-goal percentage, shooting 51.7 percent as a team. The Railsplitters also claim the 31st-best scoring offense in all of the D-II ranks. On the other end, LMU is 15th in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, holding its opponents to 39.2 percent shooting. Finally, the ‘Splitters are second in D-II in rebounding margin, out-rebounding their foes by an average of 15.4 boards per game.
The Railsplitters play five of their next seven games away from the friendly confines of Tex Turner Arena with two straight road bouts this week. Lincoln Memorial plays at Tusculum on Wednesday and at Queens on Saturday.