So much for pre-season polls. The Bluefield Rams were picked to finish dead last in the 11-team men’s basketball Mid-South Conference. And after beating the Georgetown Tigers, who were picked first, the host Rams followed that Saturday with an 84-74 over St. Catharine, selected sixth in the pre-season rankings.
The Rams, newcomers to the Mid-South, trailed 38-36 at halftime and saw that deficit climb to six points two minutes into the second period. But Bluefield (3-1, 2-0) then found the range to overcome the Patriots by shooting 55 percent in the second half. Their largest lead was the final 10 point margin.
Bluefield did some damage at the free throw line as well where they hit 27-40 (67.5 percent) while St. Catharine (2-2, 0-1) made 16 of 23 (70 percent). For the game Bluefield shot 48 percent overall and 44 percent (7-16) from three point range. The Patriots were 4-13 (31 percent) from behind the arc and 43.5 percent overall.
The Patriots won the rebounding battle 36-27, led by Jamarious Sykes' 10 boards, but committed 20 turnovers while the Rams had just 13 miscues. St. Catharine had 23 points off the bench while Bluefield did not have a substitute enter the scoring column.
DeShawn Mitchell led three Patriots in double figures with 21 points. Marquis Lee had 18 points and Omar Skinner added 10.
There is no rest on the conference schedule for St. Catharine as they host Georgetown Tuesday at 8:00 as the second half of a women’s/men’s doubleheader. The Tigers were ranked third nationally in the pre-season poll and will bring a 4-1 record into the key conference matchup.