Brevard, N.C. - The Tornados found the perfect way to celebrate Brevard Men’s Basketball Coach Michael Jones’ birthday; defeating the NABC #5-ranked Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters, 82-77, on Wednesday evening in Boshamer Gymnasium.
Vincent Dombrowski attempted a go-ahead three-pointer with 1:55 left in the second half and was fouled, but both teams watched the ball bounce off the rim several times before settling into the net to give the Tornados the late 79-77 lead. Dombrowski canned the free throw, giving Brevard (11-11, 7-8 SAC) a lead they would not relinquish as the Tornados overcame Josh Roper missing the final 3:03 of the game after coming down hard on the floor in giving the visiting Railsplitters (22-1, 14-1 SAC) their first loss of the 2010-2011 season.
Roper led all scorers with a game high 28 points and the senior contributed five three-pointers to the scoring as Brevard shot 42.9 percent (31-71) from the floor in the game. Gaither Hendrix added 17 points and four assists, and Josh Jordan contributed 13 points and seven rebounds as the Tornados defeated the Railsplitters for the second straight season in Boshamer Gymnasium.
Desmond Johnson led the Railsplitters’ effort with 25 points and completed the double-double with 15 rebounds, hitting nine of 11 shots from the floor. Cam Carden added 19 points off the bench and five three-pointers, while Brandon Armstrong scored 14 points as the Railsplitters outscored the Tornados 40-20 in the paint.
Lincoln Memorial opened the game scoring the first six points as Tony Martin went in for the layup off the opening tip and Kierre Jordan and Johnson added points as the Railsplitters held the 6-0 advantage a minute and a half into the game. The Tornados responded with seven straight points of their own to take the lead as Roper hit a trey from the right elbow extended.
Roper and Hendrix combined to score the first 25 points of the game for the Tornados and the duo outscored the visiting Railsplitters, holding the 25-23 advantage with 6:49 left in the first half, before Darius Moose got on the board with a jumper to put the lead at 27-23.
Vincent Bailey and Carlos Sanford hit back-to-back layups for LMU to knot the game back up and the teams traded the lead the remainder of the first half before Tony Martin hit a jumper in the paint to give the Railsplitters the 41-37 lead with 1:19 on the clock. Hendrix answered with a short jumper as Lincoln Memorial went into the half with the 41-39 lead.
Armstrong went in for the layup to put the lead back at 43-39 early in the second half, but Jordan answered with a short jumper in the paint and Roper hit another three as Brevard held their first lead of the second half at 44-43 with 16:47 to play.
The Tornados held the lead for the next five minutes before Wally Jones received the pass from Armstrong and drilled one from behind the arc to put LMU back up 54-52. Lincoln Memorial built a seven-point lead as Carden held the hot hand in the second half, draining four three-pointers in the second half, including one with 7:47 left in the game to give the Railsplitters their largest lead of the second half at 64-57.
Brevard fought back, using an 11-4 run to tie the game up for the first time in the second half at 68 apiece on a three-pointer by Dombrowski and several possessions later, Roper tied the game up with a three-pointer from the top of the key, putting the score at 72 apiece with 3:20 left on the clock.
Armstrong would drive hard to the basket on the next LMU possession, and as he attacked the basket, Roper fouled the junior guard and during the continuation of the play, would take an elbow to the mouth and have to be removed from the game due to the presence of blood. Armstrong would make both free throws, but Moose would answer on the other end to keep the game knotted up at 74.
Armstrong would continue to have the hot hand at the end for the Railsplitters, canning a trey to give LMU the 77-74 edge. Hendrix would answer with a jumper in the short corner to cut the lead to within one, giving way to Dombrowski’s key basket.
Following the four-point play by the junior forward, Dombrowski hit a pair of free throws with 26 seconds to push the lead to five at 82-77 and after three missed three-pointers by the Railsplitters in the waning seconds, Jermichael Tanner stole an errant LMU pass to seal the win as Brevard defended Boshamer Gymnasium, 82-77.
Brevard overcame shooting 25.7 percent (9-35) from behind the three-point line in the game, while forcing 19 LMU turnovers in recording the victory. Lincoln Memorial held the 38-32 rebounding advantage and hit 83.3 percent (10-12) from the free throw line in the loss.
Brevard takes to the road this weekend, traveling to Hickory, N.C. to take on Lenoir-Rhyne University. The Tornados took game one of the season series against the Bears on January 15th at Boshamer Gymnasium in overtime, 85-83. Tipoff in Shuford Gymnasium is set for 6 p.m.