College basketball: Indians blown out by Lincoln Memorial

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 17, 2020

By Mike London

SALISBURY  — A 6-foot-8 forward named Shaquille Rombley jumped off the Lincoln Memorial bench and accumulated 12 rebounds faster than a P.A. announcer can say “Shaquille Rombley.”

Rombley and fellow reserve Jeremiah Keene shot a combined 9-for-9 from the floor.

Lincoln Memorial’s bench is better than the starters on most teams, and the Railsplitters hammered Catawba 109-76 on Wednesday afternoon at Goodman Gym.

The second-ranked Railsplitters (4-0, 3-0) had a 39-11 edge in points off the bench. They are still who they always are, still bullies in the South Atlantic Conference even in a COVID-plagued season.

Meanwhile, Catawba, with a mostly new cast of characters, is trying to get back to being the tough team it’s been in recent seasons. Catawba actually outscored Lincoln Memorial at Goodman Gym in a memorable contest in January 2019.

What went wrong for the Indians in the latest matchup?

What didn’t?

Start with the 3-point line, where Catawba (1-3, 1-3) was outscored 54-9. That’s hard to overcome. Catawba missed nine of its first 10 long-range attempts and finished with a dismal 3-for-19 showing. Even LMU’s third-stringers were draining 3-balls.

Lincoln Memorial ranks second in the SAC in scoring, averaging 90 points per game. Catawba is 12th out of 13 in points allowed, so some of what happened was predictable.

Lincoln Memorial shot 65.5 percent from the field. The Railsplitters were limited to three offensive boards, but when you aren’t missing the first look, second chances aren’t a big factor.

Catawba also lost the turnover battle 18-14. A lot of those miscues came as Lincoln Memorial was building an insurmountable lead.

Newcomer Lloyd Hemming scored 20 for the Indians and 6-foot-10 Ben Bowen careered with 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Larry McLeod scored 12. Terrence Whitfield added 10.

Devin Whitfield scored 21 to pace LMU, while center Jordan Guest, reigning SAC Player of the Week contributed 18.

Catawba shot efficiently on 2s early and was only down 17-14 after eight minutes.

It was 22-18 with under eight minutes left in the half, but next came a 28-6 run by LMU. It was 50-24 at the break, and the only thing left to be determined was the final score.

Catawba managed to get the deficit under 20 in the early stages of the second half, but LMU didn’t let up and pushed the lead to as many as 34 points.

Lincoln Memorial had five straight games postponed or canceled in recent weeks and hadn’t played a SAC opponent since Nov. 24.

Catawba has dropped three in a row since an opening win against Anderson. Catawba will attempt to regroup at Mars Hill on Saturday. That’s the last contest the Indians have scheduled prior to Christmas. The Catawba women (2-0) also are scheduled to play the Lions.


LMU (109) — D. Whitfield 21, Guest 18, Keene 13, Rombley 12, Dahling 11, Brown 10, Bledson 4, Bartemes 3, Burries 3, Wilbar 3, Rankin 2, Walters 2.

CATAWBA (76) — Hemming 20, Bowen 16, McLeod 12, T. Whitfield 10, Drummond 7, Robinson 6, Pelote 5, Phillips, Johnson, Burwell, Spencer, Burt.

LMU             50   59   — 109

Catawba      24   52    — 76