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“We just didn’t get the hustle plays, the 50-50 balls in the final minutes and that was the difference.”
Such was the summation of St. Catharine College head coach J.T. Burton after his team lost a tough 67-64 decision Saturday to the visiting Campbellsville Tigers. Even with the bounces going against them late, the Patriots had a shot to tie in the final seconds but Arthur Latham’s 3-point attempt was just off the mark.
Campbellsville now owns a 22-6 overall mark and a 10-2 conference slate that puts them two games ahead of the University of the Cumberlands with just two regular season games left in Mid-South Conference. St. Catharine fell to 7-5 in the MSC which is good for a tie for fourth place with Pikeville. The Patriots are 19-9 overall.
St. Catharine led the game the final 18 minutes of the opening half and held a 35-27 advantage at intermission. The biggest lead of the second half came at the 17:22 mark when Kris Caufield hit a short jumper to make the score 39-29.
But the Tigers, ranked eighth nationally, went on an 11-2 run to take a 51-49 lead with 6:36 to play and never trailed again. The Patriots did tie the game at 55-55 with 3:45 to play but Campbellsville pushed the lead to 66-60 with 30 seconds remaining.
Josh Edwards then canned a jumper and, following two missed Campbellsville free throws, Edwards made two charity tosses to cut the lead to 66-64. After the Tigers sank one of two free throws Latham had a 22 footer bounce off the rim as time expired.
“We have let a lot of leads slip away like that this year,” added Burton. “Some of the games we have been able to regroup and win but it is hard to do against a great team like Campbellsville.”
Caufield, Latham and Brandon Johnson led the Patriots with 11 points apiece. Caufield also had a team high seven rebounds as the teams were tied 32-32 in rebounding.
On Thursday the Patriots routed the University of Rio Grande (5-22, 0-11) by a score of 81-46. Ervin Williams had 20 points and Brandon Johnson 12 in the winning effort.
St. Catharine will try to improve its seeding for the upcoming Mid-South Conference tournament with the final two regular season games this week. Thursday they are at Georgetown for an 8 p.m. tip and Saturday they are home against Lindsey Wilson at 4 p.m.
Before Saturday’s game the Patriots’ two seniors, Arthur Latham and Kevin Owens, will be honored. They are the first St. Catharine players to play four years for the Patriots.
Before Saturday’s game against the visiting Campbellsville Tigers, ranked eighth nationally with a 27-1 record (12-0 in the Mid-South Conference), St. Catharine coach Lena Bramblett was playing the role of a teacher as she assigned some grades.
“I knew that if they brought their C game and we brought our A game that we would have a chance,” said the Patriot boss. “Well, they brought their C game but, unfortunately, we didn’t play our A game.”
And the result of that grading was an 88-75 Campbellsville win that sent the Patriots to a conference record of 2-10 and an overall record of 8-20. But even though the Patriots improved from an earlier season meeting when Campbellsville beat them 112-52, Bramblett would have no talk of moral victories as she thought about what might have been.
“Our two guards had 18 turnovers between them (SCC had 33 for the game) and that doesn’t give you much of a chance to win against a team like that,” Bramblett said. “I really feel that this was a big missed opportunity for us.”
The Patriots played the Tigers even for the final 20 minutes after trailing 45-32 at halftime. They were led in scoring by Erin Rogers who hit five treys on her way to 27 points. Reena Haliburton and Sa’de Mullins each had 16 points. Outrebounded by 35 in the first meeting against Campbellsville, the Patriots battled Saturday to a 39-37 edge on the boards in Saturday’s contest. Mullins grabbed a team high 12 caroms.
Saturday’s loss came after a disappointing setback Thursday against visiting Rio Grande (15-12, 6-5) who beat the Patriots 71-51. Leading 32-18 at halftime the RedStorm never saw their lead dip under double figures in the second half. Haliburton and Rogers led the scoring with 19 and 12 points respectively.
The Patriots complete the regular season this week with two games. Thursday they travel to Georgetown for a 6 p.m. game. Saturday they will be home against Lindsey Wilson at 2 p.m.