Fueled by Travis Wilkins’ second triple-double of the year, the St. Catharine College Patriots outlasted the visiting UVA-Wise Cavaliers 71-63 Thursday in Mid-South Conference action. It was the fifth consecutive victory for the Patriots.
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.
The win sets the stage for what is the biggest game of the year up to this point for the Patriots. That tips off Saturday at 4:00 when the University of Pikeville visits. The Bears come to town sporting a 19-4 overall record and a 10-4 conference mark which has them in second place, two games behind Lindsey Wilson. In last week’s NAIA poll the Bears were ranked seventh in the nation.