Things did not look good for the home team Thursday when the Campbellsville Tigers scored the first four points of the second half to lead St. Catharine 42-28. But the Patriots, behind the clutch shooting of Marquis Lee, became Tiger tamers with a second half surge that netted them a key 69-65 Mid-South Conference victory.
From that 14 point deficit, the Patriots (4-3, 1-2) mounted a comeback that eventually gave them the lead with 9:50 to play when Lee hit one of his seven treys for the night to make the score 52-50. But the visiting Tigers (6-2, 2-2) clawed back to regain the lead at 60-55 with 4:44 remaining.
Then Lee, the senior guard from Detroit who ended the game with 29 points, again took charge. Lee canned a three-pointer to cut the lead to two points, and following a Campbellsville turnover, he struck again from long range to make the score 61-60 at the 2:58 mark and the Patriots never trailed again.
Lee’s final trey of the night made the score 64-60 with 57 seconds left. The Tigers did cut the lead to two points twice in the final minute but the Patriots made five of six free throws (Nick Porter 2-2 and Omar Skinner 3-4) in the final seconds to ice the victory.
While Lee was 7-14 from behind the arc the rest of the Patriots were not as proficient as St. Catharine ended the game 10-32 (31 percent) from three point range. Overall they shot 41 percent (24-59) from the field and 61 percent (11-18) from the foul line.
Campbellsville, who received votes for the top 25 in the latest NAIA poll, shot 49 percent (26-53) overall and was 5-13 (38.5 percent) on three point attempts. The Tigers were 8-15 (53 percent) from the foul line. The visitors won the rebounding battle 35-30 led by Jordan Myers’ 13 boards.
Skinner joined Lee in double figures as he notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Malik Thomas and Vernon Payne led the Tigers in scoring with 15 and 13 points respectively.
St. Catharine has little time to relish the victory as they will host Lindsey Wilson College at 4:00 Saturday. The Blue Raiders, the defending MSC champs who are ranked 11th nationally, will bring an 8-1 overall record into the contest and a 3-1 conference slate. Their only loss came at home against Pikeville in a 95-91 overtime decision.