New Albany, Ind. -- The St. Catharine College Patriots welcomed their new coach with the best present possible, a win in his debut. That came Tuesday in New Albany, Ind. as Joe Krupinski’s team held on for an 80-76 victory against Indiana University-Southeast.
The homestanding Grenadiers (0-2) held a 3-2 lead in the game’s first minute but never led again after Nick Porter’s (Owensboro, Ky.) trey put the Patriots ahead 5-2. St. Catharine would lead by as many as 18 points in the opening period before settling for a 43-32 advantage at the intermission.
IU-Southeast whittled the lead to three points at 51-48 eight minutes into the second half but the Patriots withstood that run to pull back ahead by nine points with 1:37 to play.
The home team made one final run and cut the lead to 78-76 with47 seconds left. But Devante Wiltshire (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Brandon Bobb Jones (Wilmington, Del.) each made one of two free throw attempts in the last 14 seconds to seal the victory.
Chris Johnson (Bowling Green, Ky.) paced the Patriots with a double-double. The senior swingman had 24 points (17 in the first half) and 13 rebounds. Johnson sank 13 of 16 free throw attempts. Bobb-Jones added 20 points and seven rebounds while Porter and Emory Bennett (Miami, Fla.) scored 13 and 10 respectively.
The Patriots shot 42 percent (24-57) from the field and connected on 27 of 35 (77 percent) from the foul line. The Grenadiers shot 37 percent from the field and were 15-24 (62.5 percent) from the charity stripe.
The Patriots return to the court Friday for their home opener against Union College. Tip-off is at 7:00.