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The St. Catharine College Patriots continued their late-season momentum with two victories at home last week. After defeating the Cavaliers of UVA-Wise 71-63 Thursday they topped the nation’s No. 7 team with a 93-90 win against Pikeville on Saturday.
The two Mid-South Conference victories extended the Patriots’ winning streak to six games as they improved to 12-10 overall and 8-8 in conference play. That puts J.T. Burton’s team in a tie for sixth place in the MSC with the University of the Cumberlands, two games behind fifth-place Campbellsville.
The home finale for the Patriots is Thursday, when they host Bluefield College at 8 p.m. The Rams (7-15, 3-13) beat the Patriots 84-74 in a November game played in Virginia. Following Thursday’s contest, St. Catharine will go on the road for the final three games against Lindsey Wilson, Campbellsville and Georgetown.
Fueled by Travis Wilkins’ second triple-double of the year, the St. Catharine College Patriots outlasted the visiting UVA-Wise Cavaliers iting UVA-Wise Cavaliers 71-63 on Thursday.
Eleven was the magic number for Wilkins, a senior from Spartanburg, SC. The 6-8 center had 11 points, a career-high 11 blocked shots and 11 rebounds. But he had plenty of help offensively, as Arthur McMillan tossed in a season-high 27 points and Omar Skinner and Stephen McCray scored 17 and 12, respectively.
The Patriots led 33-28 at halftime and took the lead for good at 48-46 with 12:47 to play, but could never pull away from the Cavaliers (10-9, 6-8). The lead grew to 10 points with 7:23 to play but the visitors whittled the deficit to two points (59-57) at the 2:57 mark. But the Patriots (11-10, 7-8) closed the game on a 12-6 run for the key conference win.
Neither team helped themselves with their floor game as they each committed 27 turnovers – and both had 13 steals. The Patriots did do damage at the foul line, where they were 19-21 (90.5 percent). The Cavaliers made 14-of-22 charity tosses.
Many times this year the St. Catharine College Patriots have faltered in the second half of games, but Saturday wasn’t one of those times. Instead, the result was a thrilling 93-90 victory over seventh-ranked Pikeville in front of a large Lourdes Hall crowd.
In this game, St. Catharine proved superior in the second 20 minutes as they overcame a 12-point deficit with 16 minutes to play to notch the three-point win. The Patriots (12-10, 8-8), winners of six consecutive games, finally pulled even with the Bears with 9:48 left when Kevin Kornegay’s trey made the score 74-74.
From that point it was mostly the Patriots making the clutch plays as the crowd roared approval. Pikeville (19-5, 10-5) did regain the lead at 79-78 at the 8:23 mark, but that was the last advantage they would enjoy. Arthur McMillan, off a nifty interior pass from Travis Wilkins, hit a layup with 8:10 to play to make the score 80-79 and the Patriots twice pushed the lead to six points in the final minutes.
But the drama went to the final buzzer. With St. Catharine leading by the final 93-90 score, Kornegay missed the front-end of a bonus free throw with three seconds remaining. Trevor Setty grabbed the rebound for the Bears and dished an outlet pass to Chris Johnson, whose heave from mid-court hit off the rim as time expired.
It took remarkable field-goal shooting for the Patriots to claim the victory. After hitting 50 percent in the first half, J.T. Burton’s bunch made 20-of-25 attempts (80 percent) in the second period and finished the game at 62 percent. That included 5-9 (56 percent) from three-point range.
In the most balanced scoring of the season, the Patriots placed five players in double figures, led by McMillan’s 20 points. Will Tolefree added 19, Wilkins’ 18 and Omar Skinner and Kornegay 12 each. Korenegay and Wilkins had six and five assists, respectively. Tolefree grabbed 11 rebounds as the Patriots held a 36-29 advantage on the boards.
Pikeville was led by All-American candidates Jamar Briscoe and Trevor Setty, who had 28 and 26 points, respectively. The Bears, now tied for third place in the conference, shot 47 percent from the field. That included 12-28 (43 percent) from behind the arc.