JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – In a game that featured 11 ties and four lead changes, Lincoln Memorial earned a 102-99 overtime victory over Carson-Newman in South Atlantic Conference play Tuesday evening at Holt Fieldhouse.
"I'm proud of them for the effort," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "There are some things we didn't do well and some things late that could have helped us propel to a victory. I knew it was going to be this way. I knew they were a solid team. I was really happy with poised we were early. We got down and we kept fighting to carry the lead into the half."
The 'Splitters led for the entirety of the extra session after scoring 49 seconds into the final five minutes. The lead was six points at 100-94 with 1:43 to play. C-N closed the gap to one on a layup from sophomore Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) with 34 seconds to play. Sophomore Ashton Wykle (Greeneville, Tenn.) had a look at three with six seconds to play that missed long. Karsen Sims made a pair of free throws and the Lady Eagles did not get a shot away as the buzzer sounded.
Carson-Newman (2-2, 0-1) has dropped SAC openers in straight seasons for the first time since a string of three in-a-row from 2002-04. Lincoln Memorial (5-0, 1-0) is off to a 5-0 start for just the third time since the 1940-41 season.
LMU became the first team to score at least 100 points in a game against C-N since Feb. 9, 2008 when Mars Hill topped the Lady Eagles 100-69.
The Railsplitters came of the gates firing as they took a 14-4 advantage making five of their first seven shots. The lead grew to a half-high 16 points at 28-12 with 3:24 to play in the first half when C-N closed out the quarter on a 10-2 run to close within 30-22. LMU went 10-for-14 from the floor in the frame as Shea Coker poured in 11 points making all four field-goal attempts.
The second stanza saw C-N make a surge thanks to foul shooting. The Lady Eagles went to the free-throw line 18 times, making 12, while shooting 57 percent from the floor and holding LMU to 40 percent shooting. The deficit was nine points for the home group with 4:29 to play in the half when C-N used a 13-0 spurt to take a 48-44 advantage before riding into the half ahead 51-48.
Sophomore Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) poured in a game-high 22 points on seven of 11 shooting in the opening half to go along with six rebounds. Sophomore Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) added 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting.
The Railsplitters went 6-for-10 from three-point range and shot 55 percent in the first half as Coker led the way with 14 points and Karsen Sims registered 10.
Carson-Newman one more point than Lincoln Memorial in the third quarter as the most points scored in succession by either side was five points by the Lady Eagles in a 32 second span in the final minute. The lead for C-N was 73-69 entering the final 10 minutes of the game.
The Lady Eagles saw their lead extend to five points at 85-80 with 2:53 to play in the game only to watch the Railsplitters go on a 7-0 spurt to go ahead by two points with 61 seconds to play. The two sides traded baskets over the next four possessions as Price hit a teardrop from the middle of the lane to tie the score at 89. Coker missed a jumper that was rebounded by C-N to send the game to overtime.
Wester finished the game with 28 points and eight rebounds going for 25 or more points for the second straight game. The last time a Lady Eagle accomplished that feat was when Tatum Burstrom did so twice in Dec. 2013.
Smith finished the night with a career-high 21 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the floor and 6-for-8 from the charity stripe. Price ended the game with a C-N high 19 points.
Coker led a quartet of LMU players in double figures with 25 points. Josey Harding had 16 rebounds and tallied a SAC-record 27 rebounds in 40 minutes of action. Megan Pittman had 18 and Sims added 17 points on the night.
Carson-Newman hits the road on Sunday to face Columbus State at 2 p.m. in the Peach State. The audio broadcast begins at 1:45 p.m. with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" on 106.3 WPFT-FM Mountain Country and cneagles.com/live on the Eagle Sports Network.
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