#15 Railsplitters escape Student Center with narrow win
BRISTOL, Tenn. – In a game that lived up to its billing, the King University men's basketball team dropped a highly contested game with 15th ranked Lincoln Memorial University. Hunter LeVeau poured in a career-high 27 points, but it was a pair of Railsplitter runs that proved the difference as they took the game 86-80.
LeVeau scored King's first seven points on a pair of jump shots and a three-point basket to give King (1-2) a slim 7-4 lead. The Tornado offense continued to click early as James Scales followed LeVeau's triple with a three-point play. Logan Lyle then sparked a 9-0 Tornado run with an old fashioned three-point play. Drew Standifer followed with a layup and a jumper before C.J. Good gave King a 19-8 lead and forced a Railsplitter timeout seven minutes into the game.
However, at that point, Lincoln Memorial started to come back. Trailing 23-12, the Railsplitters (2-0) went on an 11-0 run to even the score at 23 all with 5:37 left in the first half. Over the final two minutes of the half, the Railsplitters put together another run, this one was 10-0 and was capped by a Lorenza Ross jumper from the top of the key at the buzzer to give Lincoln Memorial a 44-35 lead at the break.
King rebounded in the second half as Lyle made three free throws and Michael Fortune drilled a three-point basket to pull King within four. Brandon Crompton accounted for back-to-back buckets to bring King within 47-45. However, the Railsplitters answered, stretching their lead back to seven before Lyle ignited a Tornado comeback with a pair of jumpers before Scottie Hendricks capped the 7-0 spurt and evened the game at 59 halfway through the second frame with one of his two triples in the game.
With the score tied at 67 with just over six minutes remaining, Fortune looked to give King a spark as he converted a three-point play to give King the lead. LeVeau followed with a triple that brought the Student Center Complex crowd to their feet as Lincoln Memorial took a timeout trailing 73-67.
The timeout proved to be well spent as Tim Pierce started a Railsplitter run with a jump shot out of the break. Vincent Bailey evened the score at 73 with a layup before Piece drilled a triple to give the Railsplitters the lead. Chance Jones capped the 11-0 run with a pair of free throws. The Tornado got back within two points on two occasions, but could never get over the hump as the 15th ranked Railsplitters escaped with an 86-80 victory.
LeVeau paced the Tornado offense with a career-best 27 points on 10-for-18 shooting from the floor, including 5-for-11 from long range. Lyle followed with 15 points while Standifer chipped in with 12 points. Lyle pulled down a team-high seven rebounds and James Scales dished out a team-best four assists.
Bailey led four Railsplitters in double figures with 28 points. Jones added 17 and Ross chipped in 16. Lincoln Memorial shot 58.3 percent from the floor while holding King to a 45.3 percent clip. The score was tied 11 times, and there were seven lead changes in the game.
King will be in action again next Saturday when they travel to Nashville to take on Trevecca Nazarene University. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m., central time.