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J.T. Burton did not win his first college game as head coach Saturday when the St. Catharine College Patriots were dealt an 85-77 setback against a tough Lambuth team visiting from Jackson, Tennessee. And Burton could easily find the reasons for the loss after scouring the statistics page.
“Outrebounded 54-27,” bemoaned Burton after the season opener. “They had 28 offensive rebounds and we had only 27 total.”
Lambuth’s board dominance definitely told the story, but despite losing that rebounding battle, the Patriots still were in the game in the final minutes. When Kevin Owens made a free throw with 4:48 to play the Patriots had cut the Lambuth lead to 77-75. But they were outscored 8-2 down the stretch which brought Burton to another telling statistic.
“We had three consecutive empty possessions where we either turned the ball over or had an offensive foul and didn’t get a shot,” said the Patriot coach. “We had a lot of those in the second half and when you add those to the rebounding difference it is hard to win against a good team like that.”
Victor Garcia led four Patriots in double figures with 23 points. Arthur Latham added 18 while Brandon Johnson and Owens each had 13.
The Patriots are back on the court at home tonight where they will take on Cumberland University. This weekend they travel to Tennessee to play in the Rotary Club Classic at Bethel College. Friday they play Martin Methodist and Saturday they play Bethel.