Sunday’s game against the visiting Bulldogs gave an indication very early in the season as to whether the Patriots are improving. Just nine days earlier Cumberland handed the Patriots their only loss with an 84-75 win in Lebanon, Tennessee. Chalk one up for improvement as St. Catharine avenged that loss with an 87-74 win, sending Cumberland home with its first loss in six outings.
Just two minutes into the game the Patriots took the lead for good when Kashiff Carr, who led all scorers with 32 points, canned a trey for a 6-4 lead. That advantage grew to as many as 19 points in the first half before the Patriots settled for a 43-33 lead at the intermission.
On two occasions in the second half the Bulldogs whittled the lead to six points. The final time was with 1:55 to play when they trailed 73-67. But the Patriots sank eight consecutive free throws and when DeShawn Mitchell hit a layup with 23 seconds left the lead was back to 11 points at 85-74.
Joining Carr in double figures were Mitchell and Delonte Taylor who had 22 and 10 respectively. Each team grabbed 32 rebounds as Carr (seven) and Fateen Belfield (six) led the Patriots on the boards.
St. Catharine enjoyed its best field goal shooting of the season at 49 percent. The Patriots continued their excellent free throw percentage by hitting 31 0f 38 (82 percent).
Cumberland shot 47 percent from the field and 70 percent (16-23) from the foul line.