RIO GRANDE, Ohio - Travis Wilkins’ dunk and subsequent free throw with 4:41 remaining snapped a 60-60 tie and gave visiting St. Catharine College the lead for good in an eventual 69-66 win over the University of Rio Grande, Thursday night, in Mid-South Conference men’s basketball action.
The Patriots improved to 7-10 overall and 3-8 in conference play, posting their second win in as many tries against the RedStorm this season.
Rio Grande dropped to 7-13 overall and 3-8 in the MSC, while also falling to 1-5 all-time against St. Catharine.
The six meetings between the two programs have been decided by just 27 points and the winning team has never won by more than six points.
Rio Grande coughed up an early 7-0 lead and trailed by as many as 13 points, 49-36, after a conventional three-point play by St. Catharine’s Omar Skinner with 34.9 seconds left in the first half.
The RedStorm mounted a methodical comeback, though, outscoring their guests 21-7 over the next 12:34 and taking a 57-56 lead on a right baseline jumper by freshman guard D.D. Joiner with 8:00 left in the game.
Joiner scored again exactly two minutes later to knot the score at 60-all, but Wilkins’ three-point play just over a minute later put the Patriots in front for good.
Rio Grande twice got back within one point - 63-62 following a pair of free throws by senior guard Kaleb Kimber with 3:58 remaining and 67-66 after senior center Dominick Haynes canned a pair of free throws with 27.1 seconds left - but could get no closer.
St. Catharine’s Stephen McCray hit a pair of free throws with 8.5 seconds left to make it 69-66, but a would-be game-tying three-pointer by Rio junior guard Jermaine Warmack with two seconds left was off the mark and the Patriots escaped with the win.
Skinner finished with a game-high 21 points to lead SCC, including 17 in the first half when the Patriots shot 63.3 percent from the field (19-for-30). He also had six steals.
Arthur McMillan and Wilkins added 13 and 11 points, respectively, in the winning effort, while Dominique Roy had a team-high nine rebounds and six assists.
Warmack scored 17 points to lead the RedStorm, all but two of which came as a result of five first half three-pointers. He also handed out three assists.
Joiner contributed 12 points in the loss and Haynes added 10 points and three blocked shots, while junior forward Karl Moore snared a team-high eight rebounds.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday afternoon, hosting Georgetown College for a scheduled 4 p.m. tipoff.
The Tigers, who received votes in the latest NAIA coaches poll, suffered an 87-87 overtime loss at Shawnee State on Thursday.
Georgetown won the first meeting with Rio, 78-61, on Jan. 10 in Georgetown, Ky.