Harrogate, Tenn. - Gaither Hendrix connected on four three-pointers on his way to a game high 26 points, but behind Desmond Johnson’s double-double, the #8 Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters topped the visiting Brevard Tornados in Tex Turner Arena on Wednesday evening, 69-58.
Brevard (4-21, 3-12 SAC) took the lead at 15-13 as Hendrix completed the old-fashioned three-point play with 10:49 on the clock, but Dustin Craig responded with a jumper and Brandon Armstrong followed with a three-pointer on the next LMU possession and the Railsplitters never trailed the rest of the way in recording the season sweep against the Tornados.
Hendrix led all players with 26 points, going 10-for-19 from the field and 4-for-8 from behind the arc as the Tornados shot 43.1 percent (22-51) from the floor as a team. Darius Moose added nine points and a pair of blocked shots, while Michael Gist scored eight points off the bench as the Tornados see their SAC winning streak snapped.
Johnson led the Railsplitters, scoring 20 points and pulling down 14 rebounds as LMU held the 41-25 rebounding edge in the contest. Vincent Bailey added 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting as the Railsplitters shot 29-for-60 (48.3 percent) from the floor in the game. Chance Jones added nine points as 11 different LMU players contributed in the scoring column in the box score.
Bailey and Moose opened up the game trading baskets and Moose put Brevard up early with a free throw as the teams battled through two ties and three lead changes in the first four minutes of the contest. Lincoln Memorial broke the 5-5 tie as Johnson connected on a jumper in the paint and Bailey followed with a short jumper to put the Railsplitters up 9-5 at the 15:22 mark, but Hendrix answered with a jumper and a three-pointer to retake the lead for Brevard.
The teams swapped the lead two more times with Jake Troyli connecting on a jump shot to put LMU up at the 11:17 mark and Hendrix answered on the following BC possession with a driving jumper before Craig tied the game up for the third time with 10:22 to play in the first half with a basket in the paint. Armstrong broke the tie with a three-pointer off the assist from Cam Carden.
Brevard tied the game up twice more as Hendrix hit a three-pointer at the 7:39 mark to tie the game at 20 and Aleksandar Vasiljevic hit a jumper in the paint to knot the game up at 22 with 7:05 on the clock, but Lincoln Memorial closed out the half on a 16-4 run, capped by a three-pointer by Wally Jones as the Railsplitters went into the break with the 38-26 lead.
Lincoln Memorial continued to build on their halftime advantage, going up by as many as 20 in the second half as Johnson hit a jumper in the paint at the 13:33 mark, putting the Railsplitters up 52-32. The Tornados rallied back behind three-pointer by Gist and Hendrix, cutting the lead back to within 11 following an 11-2 run three minutes later as Brevard closed to within 54-43.
Brevard continued to fight back bringing the game all the way back to within nine points following another Gist three-pointer with 1:52 left on the clock, but the deficit was too much to overcome as Armstrong offset a Hendrix three-pointer with a pair of free throws with 38 ticks remaining on the clock to close out the 69-58 victory.
Brevard returns home on Saturday, February 18th as they welcome South Atlantic Conference opponent Lenoir-Rhyne University to Brevard, N.C. for the Tornados’ annual Play 4Kay game. Tipoff between the Tornados and the Bears in Boshamer Gymnasium is set for 4 p.m.