In nationally televised game, LMU drops heartbreaker to Anderson, 67-66

HARROGATE, Tenn. (LMU release) -- The 12th-ranked Railsplitters held a two-point lead over Anderson University with six seconds left in regulation, however, a three-point play by Bo Holston with three-ticks left lifted the Trojans past Lincoln Memorial University, 67-66, in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon in Tex Turner Arena. With the loss, LMU (10-2, 3-1 SAC) dropped their five-consecutive decision to Anderson (8-4, 4-0 SAC).

The Railsplitters were paced offensively by Wally Jones' 17 points, as he headlined a 48.3% shooting effort for LMU with a 6-8 mark from the field. The senior guard also reigned in four boards while going a perfect 5-5 from beyond the three-point arc. Lorenza Ross poured in 13 points, grabbed two boards and dished out two assists before an injury in the final five minutes of regulation sidelined him for the remainder of the contest. CJ Wakeley sparked LMU with nine points, with seven coming late in the second half, off the bench.

The inside trio of Vincent Bailey, Jake Troyli and Dustin Craig combined for 22 points and 16 rebounds in the losing effort. Bailey highlighted that group with eight points, three blocks and eight boards, which led the Railsplitters in that category. Troyli also notched eight points on a 4-8 effort from the field, while Dustin Craig tallied six points and six rebound.

Anderson University was carried to victory by the dual efforts of Denzail Jones and Chandler Hash, as the two combined for 35 of the Trojans' 67 points. Jones, the reigning South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year, led all players with 24 points despite struggling from the floor to the tone of a 7-22 effort. Chandler Hash scored 11 points in the contest and netted three of his four three-point shot attempts. Both players were on the floor for the entirety of the contest.

The Trojans were limited to a 21-51 effort (41.2%) from the field, however, the team combined to go 11-21 (52.4%) from the three en route to earning the victory. Myson Jones tallied nine points off the bench, while DJ McGowan posted a steady performance with eight points. Kyle Sledge led the Trojans to a 34-29 advantage on the glass with a game-high 14 boards.

The two teams jockeyed for control of the contest throughout the first half, as the game saw the score tied on eight occasions and the lead change 11 different times. With the game knotted at 9-9, Lorenza Ross scored five-consecutive points on two jumpers and a free throw to give LMU a 14-9 advantage with 11:58 to play in the frame. Back-to-back threes from Myson Jones and Denzail Jones swung the game back in favor of Anderson by the 10:48 mark of the half.

Neither team would earn a distinct advantage over the final 10 minutes of the half, as the game was tied five more times over that span. With the game square at 29-29 with 2:52 to play, LMU grabbed a brief lead with a jumper by Wally Jones. However, Denzail Jones countered for the Trojans with another three-pointer to put Anderson on top 32-31 after the first 20 minutes of play.

Chandler Hash nailed a three-pointer to open the second half to give the Trojans a 35-31 lead, but LMU answered with a 5-0 run to take a 36-35 lead with 18:55 remaining in regulation. The next nine minutes saw each team vying to break away without either side being able to establish consistent control of the contest. With the game square at 49-49 at the 9:32 mark, the Trojans gained the momentum behind an 8-0 run, capped with a jumper by Chris Ross, to take a 57-49 lead with 6:55 to play.

Cam Carden cut that lead to five with a three-pointer at the 5:16 mark, however, Anderson answered with a three from DJ McGowan to reassert an eight-point advantage. Trailing 62-54 with 4:52 to play, the Railsplitters stormed back into command of the game behind a juiced crowd of well over 3,500 with a 12-0 rally. Lorenza Ross sparked the rally with a jumper and CJ Wakely drilled a three-pointer and a jumper in consecutive possessions to make it 62-61 in favor of the Trojans with 2:54 to play. Coming out of an AU timeout, Wally Jones netted another three-point bucket to give LMU the lead at 64-62 with 2:19 to play. Wakeley capped the run by the Railsplitters with a running layup with 1:47 to play to give LMU a 66-62 lead.

Following a turnover and a foul by the Railsplitters, Myson Jones cut the deficit to 66-64 with a pair of free throws with 1:04 left on the game clock. Lincoln Memorial came up scoreless on the ensuing possession, giving the Trojans a chance to tie or take the lead in the final possession. In that final opportunity, the Trojans grabbed a 67-66 lead following a Bo Holston three-point play with only three seconds remaining. The Railsplitters' final three-point, game-winning effort came up short, as LMU was handed a heartbreaking loss to the Trojans in Tex Turner Arena.

All told, the contest saw 12 ties and 17 lead changes with the Trojans coming up on the winning-end of the final momentum shift in the waning seconds.

The contest between Lincoln Memorial University and Anderson University was broadcast to a nationwide audience on the CBS Sports Network as part of the CBS NCAA Division II viewing package.

The Railsplitters will be back in action on January 16th, as they welcome Brevard College to town for a South Atlantic Conference matchup with the Tornados. That game is set to tip on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Harrogate, Tennessee.

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