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. And 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. And 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.
The Patriots’ next game will be their final home contest of the season. That comes Thursday when they host Bluefield College (7-15, 3-13). In November the Patriots fell 84-74 to the Rams in Virginia.