Trojan Men's Basketball Faces Lincoln Memorial in NCAA Opener

ANDERSON, S.C. – The No. seven seed Anderson men’s basketball team will make its second consecutive appearance in the Big Dance by squaring off against second-seeded Lincoln Memorial in the 2011 NCAA Southeast Regional hosted by Augusta State. Tip-off is slated for 2:30 p.m. at ASU’s Christenberry Fieldhouse.  

Saturday’s quarterfinal matchup will feature the top two teams from the South Atlantic Conference’s regular season slate, with the Trojans and nationally 10th ranked Railsplitters squaring off for the third time this season to see who will advance to meet the winner of the No. 3 seed Georgia Southwestern vs. No. 6 seed Montevallo contest scheduled just prior to the AU vs. LMU game on Saturday. Each team defended its home court during the regular-season matchups, with Anderson being one of only two teams to defeat LMU.

Lincoln Memorial (27-2) entered the 2011 Food Lion SAC Tournament as the top seed and claimed its first-ever title last Sunday afternoon with a 68-58 win past Wingate to earn the Railsplitters their first trip to the NCAA Championship. LMU is led by senior forward D'Mario Curry, who averages a team-high 17.6 points per game, while junior forward Desmond Johnson, the SAC Tournament MVP, adds 15 points and a team-best 8.5 rebounds a game.

Anderson (18-11) is 1-4 this season versus teams in the Southeast Regional, dropping two of the contests by a total of 10 points. The Trojans suffered a 78-72 setback to Augusta State in the season-opener and dropped a 79-75 road decision at Montevallo on Nov. 20. AU battled UNC-Pembroke just before the Christmas break, but came away with an 84-69 loss. The Trojans fell, 84-73, at Lincoln Memorial but upset the then-fifth ranked Railsplitters, 90-79, in the Trojans’ regular-season home finale.

Senior guard Brandon Young earned First Team All-Conference honors, while fellow senior Kevis Cornwell was named to the second-team and guard Denzail Jones was selected to the All-Freshman team at te conclusion of the regular season. Young was named to the first team after starting 28 regular-season games for the Trojans and ranking third in scoring average on a team that boasts five players averaging double figures. Anderson’s all-time leading scorer averaged 12 points per game and led the team in made 3-pointers, with 56 on the season.

Cornwell led the team in scoring and ranked 17th in the conference in scoring, third in steals, seventh in assists and 11th in field goal percentage, while Jones ranked 18th in the league in scoring, second in the conference in free throw percentage, seventh in steals and eighth in assists.

Junior sharpshooter Nick Trull, the league’s Scholar-Athlete, has led the team over the last three games, averaging a team-high 19.7 points per game off the bench. Cornwell has added 16.7 points per contest and connected on 63.9 percent (23-of-36) of his attempts from the field. Junior center Taylor Shugart averaged 10.7 points and 5.0 rebounds over the three-game span.

The Southeast Regional consists of four sessions and includes seven games over a four-day stretch. Georgia Southwestern (20-8), the No. 3 seed, and sixth-seeded Montevallo (18-10) will tip off quarterfinal play at noon on Saturday. At 2:30 p.m., Anderson and LMU will square off in the second game of session one.

Augusta State, the Peach Belt Conference’s regular-season champion, is playing host to its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament this weekend and is making its seventh trip to the Big Dance in the last 11 years after finishing 28-3 heading into the tourney.

The top-seeded Jaguars (28-3) and No. 8 UNC Pembroke (18-11) will tangle in the first game of the second session at 6 p.m. before No. 4 Queens (20-7) and No. 5 seed Limestone (23-6) wrap up the first day’s play at 8:30 p.m.

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