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Packed house watches Pats fall to Grenadiers

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By The Staff

SCC Sports Information

Last Tuesday, J.T. Burton’s St. Catharine College Patriots played an exhibition game at Morehead State in front of 1,200 elementary school students that Eagles’ coach Donnie Tyndall, a former St. Catharine coach, bussed in for the game.

Taking notice, Burton pulled off the same feat the next day when the Patriots hosted IU-Southeast as approximately 600 young students packed Lourdes Hall for the 1 p.m. tip-off. While both games resulted in losses for the Patriots, the atmosphere was high energy as the enthusiastic youngsters cheered every move of the hometown team.

“Wasn’t that great,” asked Burton of the full house that saw his Patriots fall to the Grenadiers 78-72. “Of course I wish we could have sent them home with a win, but we lost to a good team. This (the student day) is something we plan to do every year.”

IU-Southeast, now 9-3 and ranked seventh in the nation in NAIA Division-II, took the lead for good with 1:03 to play in the first half on a trey by Alex Gravelle. That broke the sixth tie of the half and propelled the visitors to a 34-27 halftime advantage.

After falling behind by as many as 16 points in the second half, the Patriots stormed back to cut the lead to four points in the final minute on a Brandon Johnson three-pointer that made the score 74-70. But the Grenadiers’ Jazzmar Ferguson made four consecutive free throws in the final 30 seconds for the 78-72 win.

“That is a team who will compete for the D-II national championship,” added Burton. “They won the week before at Bellarmine who was pre-season number one in NCAA D-II.”

Both teams shot the ball well as the Patriots hit 50 percent from the field and the Grenadiers shot 56 percent. But the difference came from long range as IU-Southeast made 11 shots from behind the arc, including 8-11 in the second half.

Arthur Latham led the Patriots with 23 points and nine rebounds. Ervin Williams had 14 points and nine boards and Josh Edwards had 12 points. Ferguson had 21 points to lead the Grenadiers.

At Morehead last Tuesday, the Patriots fell 81-53 to the Eagles who counted the game as a regular season contest. The Patriots were able to hang close early, trailing 14-12 midway through the opening period but the Eagles, 3-4, pulled away to a 44-25 advantage at intermission. The Eagles’ lead never dipped below 20 points after the opening basket of the second half.

Kenneth Faried, a first team All-Ohio Valley Conference selection, led all players with 17 points. Brandon Johnson had 14 points for the Patriots while Latham and Williams had 13 and 11 respectively.

Burton and his Patriots will now have until Jan. 12 to ponder their 11-4 record before returning to action with a home game against visiting Southern Polytechnic State (Georgia).

“When we looked at the best case scenario before the season we thought we could be 13-2 at this point,” said Burton. “But at 11-4 we can’t be too disappointed. Last year at the Christmas break we were 2-15.”