UVA Wise upsets LMU in SAC semifinals

Published 4:44 pm Monday, March 6, 2023

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The Lincoln Memorial men’s basketball team fell 86-78 to UVA Wise on Saturday afternoon in the South Atlantic Conference Tournament semifinals in Greenville, South Carolina.

The No. 9 Railsplitters (27-4) trailed 39-34 at halftime to the Cavaliers (19-11) before going on a 16-6 scoring run coming out of the break to gain a 50-45 advantage following a Matthew Sells 3-pointer. SAC Player of the Year Bradley Dean, however, proved to be too much for Lincoln Memorial to handle, posting 35 points and seven rebounds to lead UVA Wise to the upset win.

The No. 1 seed in the Mountain Division Railsplitters led by as many as nine points at 16-7 and 22-13 midway through the opening period, but the Cavaliers, playing as the No. 3 seed in the Mountain Division, mounted a comeback to take the five-point edge after the first half.

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Martez Brown posted a 15-point, 14-rebound double-double and had a game-best +16 plus-minus but fouled out with 5:13 to play and his Railsplitters trailing 66-64. Quay Kennedy had a team-high 16 points while adding five rebounds and two assists. Jordan Walters (14 points, six rebounds) and Matthew Sells (12 points) also scored in double figures for Lincoln Memorial while Chase Rankin tallied six points, seven rebounds and eight assists.

UVA Wise limited the Railsplitters to 43.2 percent (32-74) shooting including 17.4 percent (4-23) from long range. Lincoln Memorial won the battle of the boards 41-33, points in the paint 56-30 and second chance points 23-8 but were handled in transition (12-0 fast break points for the Cavaliers).

The Railsplitters received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The No. 3 seed in the Southeast Region, the Railsplitters will play sixth-seeded Lander on March 11.