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In one of the most exciting games in the history of Lourdes Hall, the St. Catharine College Patriots downed the Georgetown College Tigers 92-87 in overtime Thursday in Mid-South Conference action. St. Catharine, 14-7 overall and 2-3 in the conference, forced the overtime when Ervin Williams’ putback with six seconds to play knotted the game at 76-76.
In the extra period, Brandon Johnson’s trey quickly gave the Patriots a 79-76 lead, but Hollis Giles converted a three-point play for the Tigers (15-5, 3-2) to tie the game. The Patriots then took the lead for good, at 85-83, with three minutes left in overtime on another trifecta by Johnson. They expanded the lead to 87-83 and made crucial free throws in the final minute to nail down the win in front of a large, frenzied crowd.
The victory was the third for the Patriots this season over a team ranked in the top 20 nationally. Twice St. Catharine has beaten Southern Polytechnic State, ranked eighth, and Georgetown came into the game ranked 18th.
“Since we have been in the NAIA (two years) this has to be the biggest win,” said Patriot coach J.T. Burton. “To win against a team with the tradition and history of Georgetown is big for our program. It is a testament to the hard work of our team and my assistant (Matt Stearsman).”
The Patriots led 35-32 at halftime despite 38 percent shooting to the Tigers’ 48 percent. But in the final 20 minutes the Patriots found the range with 62.5 percent shooting including 7-11 from three-point range. Still, in the second half the visitors led by as many as seven points.
“I told our team at halftime that they we would have to withstand a run by them because they are too good not to come back,” said Burton. “We were up 14 at their place at halftime (when the Patriots played in an early season tournament) but couldn’t hold the lead (losing 75-69).”
But this time the Patriots held on for the win, which touched off a celebration as students stormed the court following the final horn. “If you win you will have fans come out of the woodwork,” added Burton. “Our students really made a difference with the support they gave us.”
Johnson led four patriot players in double figures with 18 points. Arthur Latham added 16 while Josh Edwards and Kris Caufield had 15 and 14 respectively.
Hollis Giles led Georgetown with 24 points and Vic Moses added 20. The Patriots outrebounded the Tigers 38-32 as Williams led the way with seven boards.
The Patriots can now put four notches in their sneakers. That is how many top 25 teams Burton’s bunch has knocked off this season. The latest conquest was Monday night at Campbellsville when St. Catharine downed the Tigers, ranked 9th nationally, 56-53 in a defensive struggle.
The win moves the Patriots into a fourth place tie in the Mid-South Conference with a 3-3 record. St. Catharine is now 15-7 overall.
Ervin Williams sank two key free throws with 9.7 seconds left in the game to give the Patriots their final three point lead. Campbellsville did get a shot a tying the game but Shawn Savage’s three-point attempt bounced off the rim as time expired.
The Patriots opened the game right where they left off following the Georgetown win as they bolted to an 8-0 lead. But Campbellsville regrouped and led 25-24 at halftime. The game saw five lead changes in the second half before the Patriots took the lead for good in the final two minutes.
Williams led the Patriots with 17 points and Arthur Latham added 15. The Tigers, who shot just 35 percent for the game, were led by Caleb Harris’ 19 points. T.J. Bishop added 10 points.
The Patriots return to action later this week with a pair of conference road games, visiting Lindsey Wilson on Thursday, and on Saturday they visit University of the Cumberlands.