HARROGATE, Tenn. --- Lincoln Memorial used a 24-4 run spanning the first and second halves as the second-ranked Railsplitters defeated in-state foe Tusculum, 83-67 Wednesday night at Tex Turner Arena in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action.
LMU (28-1, 21-0 SAC) records its 28th consecutive victory while halting the Pioneers' four-game winning streak. Devin Whitfield led the Railsplitters with 20 points as LMU shot 53 percent from the floor, while holding Tusculum to a season-low 28.8 percent including 24 percent in the first half.
The Pioneers (18-11, 13-8 SAC) remain in a tie for third place in the SAC standings with Catawba College, who also lost on Wednesday at Anderson University. TU is also listed ninth in the latest NCAA Division II Southeast Region rankings, which were announced earlier on Wednesday. LMU has already clinched the SAC regular season crown and are ranked tops in the region.
Cameron Henry shot 6-of-8 from the floor for his 15 points, while Courvoisier McCauley posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Alex Dahling contributed 10 points for the Railsplitters who defeated the Pioneers for a 17th straight time in Harrogate, a run dating back to Dec. 3, 2005.
Tusculum's Trenton Gibson led the visitors with 16 points and six rebounds, while Dillon Smith accounted for 13 markers. Rookie DyQuavis Wilkins established season-highs with his 12 points and seven rebounds.
LMU out-rebounded Tusculum 44-40 including 40-27 on the defensive glass alone. The Railsplitters recorded 22 assists on its 29 field goals made and out-scored TU in the paint by a 38-18 margin.
Wednesday's match-up was close through two-thirds of the opening period as the score was tied five times including 19-19 following an offensive rebound and layup from rookie Justin Mitchell at the 6:28 mark of the half.
The Railsplitters closed out the half with a 19-4 run over the final six minutes. During the run, LMU made five consecutive shots to start the spurt, including a trey from Julius Brown as TU trailed 41-25 at halftime.
A three-pointer by Whitfield and a layup from Anthony Brown would extend the LMU lead out to 46-25 with 18:54 left. Lincoln Memorial would push the lead out to as much as 24 (55-31) at the 14:09 mark of the half.
Tusculum made a second half push and trimmed the deficit to as close as 77-63 with four minutes remaining. But LMU would score the next two baskets to put the game out of reach.
Tusculum's Brandon Mitchell led the Pioneers with his eight rebounds and tied a season-best with four steals. He also recorded his 57th blocked shot of the year, which ties the TU single-season record shared with Chase Mounce in 2016-2017.
The Pioneers will close out the regular season on Saturday with a trip to Wingate University for a 4 p.m. start time from Cuddy Arena.