The Georgetown Tigers are perennially ranked among the nation’s top teams because they know how to win the close games. And Thursday’s contest at St. Catharine looked to be a perfect example of that as they jumped to a quick five point lead in the overtime period. But this time it was St. Catharine who figured out how to win at crunch time, going on a 10-0 run in the extra period to snatch a 93-87 Mid-South Conference victory away from the nation’s fourth ranked team.
After falling behind 83-78 in the first minute and a half of overtime, The Patriots got back to back treys to grab an 84-83 lead with 2:41 to play and never trailed again. Melo Smith canned the first bomb and, following a Tiger turnover, Brandon Johnson nailed a 25 footer on a nifty assist from Stephan Pope. Delonte Taylor then made two free throws and Pope scored inside to complete the 10 point rally.
“We got big minutes from guys off the bench,” said SC head coach J.T. Burton. “It is all about a team effort and guys are accepting their roles.”
Pope was one of the big keys off the bench even though he logged just 11 minutes. Much of that time came after starting center Travis Wilkins (19 points, 10 rebounds) fouled out one minute into the overtime period. Pope had a field goal, a blocked shot and a key steal in the final four minutes. Reserve guard Kevin Kornegay also made a key contribution off the bench with a big 3-pointer and two free throws late in regulation.
Still the outcome was in question in the final minute as the Patriots held an 89-87 lead. Johnson then made two of four free throws. And then Taylor, who had 19 points, put the final touch on the win when he stole an inbounds pass with 10 seconds left and soared for a slam duck as the capacity crowd erupted.
“We really got a boost from the crowd,” added Burton whose team improved to 9-8 overall and 5-4 in the conference. “We needed that because they really took it to us early.”
The Tigers (17-4, 7-2) roared to a 16-3 lead to begin the game. They still led by 12 points with two minutes to play in the first half before the Patriots were able to cut that lead in half, 43-37, by intermission.
St. Catharine started the second half with a 10-2 run to take their first lead of the game. They led by as many as seven points but Georgetown outscored the Patriots 15-8 over the final four minutes to send the game into overtime tied 78-78.
In addition to Wilkins and Taylor who had 19 points apiece, Smith and Johnson also reached double figures with 20 and 15 points respectively.
Georgetown was led by Johonne Hamilton with 27 points. Garel Craig added 21 and Tyrone Shelley had 13.
The Patriots’ win avenged a loss earlier 87-78 loss to the Tigers earlier this season. Georgetown is tied for first in the MSC with Lindsey Wilson at 7-2. Pikeville and St. Catharine are tied for third at 5-4.
The Patriots are back in Lourdes Hall on Saturday for a 4:00 conference contest against Shawnee State.