HARROGATE, Tenn. -- No. 4 Lincoln Memorial opened South Atlantic Conference play on Wednesday with a 65-61 victory against Wingate. With the win, the Railsplitters remained a perfect 7-0 on the season and 1-0 in the SAC. The Bulldogs fell to 2-6 on the season and 0-1 in the SAC.

The Railsplitters were led by Desmond Johnson's 16 points. Vincent Bailey notched 14 points off the bench to lead that unit for Lincoln Memorial. Brandon Armstrong rounded out the double-digit performers for LMU as he poured in 11 points.

Paidrick Matilus led all players with 22 points for the Bulldogs. Jaime Vaughn added 13 points on the evening. Deion Turman was the lone player in the game with double-digit boards as he grabbed 10.

The opening minutes of the first half saw the two teams struggle offensively as the two defenses battled to a 12-12 tie with 10:32 remaining in the half. From that moment, the Railsplitters seemed to find their rhythm as they used a 10-0 run, capped off by a running finger roll from Tony Martin, to take a 22-12 lead with 7:43 on the clock.

LMU continued to press as a layup by Desmond Johnson gave Lincoln Memorial a 34-17 advantage. The Bulldogs regained their composure as they closed the half on a 9-1 run to send the teams into the break with the Railsplitters on top 35-26.

Lincoln Memorial opened the second half of play by grabbing a 38-26 lead on a three point play by Johnson. The Bulldogs began to chip away from that moment, as a 3-point basket by Paidrick Matilus cut the Railsplitter lead to 42-39 with 11:27 remainging. LMU would fight back out to a 51-41 lead before WU cut it back to 52-50 with a 3-point bucket by Eddie Lewis with 6:25 remaining.

Lincoln Memorial used a 9-2 run in the ensuing four minutes to grab a 61-52 lead. Despite the frenetic pace of the closing minutes, the Railsplitters were able to hold on to a 65-61 win.