Patriots meet Lions at 4:30pm, Thursday
NOTE: The Sports Information Directors at St. Catharine College and SAGU have exchanged articles to introduce their teams to their opponent's fan. This was written by SCC's Justin Farr. SAGU's tintroduction will appear on Wednesday at: goscpatriots.com
The St. Catharine Patriots will take their team concept into Thursday night’s contest with Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU).
The St. Catharine Patriots hail from a small liberal arts school that is found firmly in the Dominican Catholic faith.
The institution is located approximately one hour from both Lexington, Kentucky and Louisville, Kentucky, while being centered in the largest area for production of Bourbon in the world. In fact, the neighboring city of Bardstown was not only considered the most beautiful city in the United States in 2013, but it is considered the “Bourbon Capitol.”
The college is surrounded by the beautiful rolling hills of Kentucky and can be seen from miles around, due to its high elevated location.
When the St. Catharine Patriots make the trip to Kansas, they know that they will have their work cut out for them on Thursday in the first round of the 2014 Buffalo Funds National Tournament when they take on a SAGU squad that brings championship experience to the table.
“These guys made it all the way last year” said Patriot Coach JT Burton. “They are a well-coached group that plays extremely hard.”
For Burton’s Patriots, they will look to their senior leadership to offset the championship experience of SAGU. Led by senior guard Omar Skinner (New Castle, Del.) and his 2.50 steals per game (ranked eighth nationally), the Patriots will rely heavily on their defense to keep the Lions off balance as they are ranked fifth nationally with 11.43 steals per game.
“We like to play together and force turnovers” said sophomore point guard Nick Porter. “We will try to use defense to produce our offense.” The Patriots defense has managed to hold opposing offenses to 76.2 points per contest, while producing 81.8 points of offense of their own.
On offense, the Patriots will look to their inside game to carry the load; led by First Team All Mid-South Conference member William Tolefree (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and 6’8” senior power forward Raymon Austin (Cleveland, Oh.) the Patriots will work inside-out to counter a stout SAGU defense that is only allowing 72.87 points per game.
Austin has paced the Patriot’s scoring attack throughout the second half of the season, scoring a team leading 15.2 points per contest. However, Tolefree has not been far behind his fellow front court member, as he has nailed down 13.5 points per contest.
Not only have the two Patriot big men led the scoring attack, but they have paced the Patriots and the nation on the glass; both have combined for over 13 rebounds per game, while the Patriots finished the season ranked second nationally with 15.7 offensive rebounds per game.
In the Patriot front court, Skinner, Porter (Owensboro, Ky.), and Taron Franklin (Philadelphia, Pa.) will carry the bulk of the load.
Omar Skinner paces the Patriot’s with 2.1 assists per contest, while scoring 13.6 points per game. The Patriots will use patience to allow Porter, a pass-first guard, and Skinner to make quality decisions while limiting turnovers.
On the year, the Patriots ranked 21st nationally in turnover margin with a 2.1. In addition, the Patriots average 11.16 assists per contest while balancing their attack with multiple double-digit scorers.
“We don’t have one guy that will do all of the scoring” said Franklin. “We want to play team basketball and distribute to the open man.”
The Patriots have consistently started Skinner, Austin, Tolefree and Porter, while the fifth spot is up for grabs. Porter will lead the Patriot’s balanced offensive attack form the point position, while looking to set the tempo on defense.
The Patriots and Lions can be seen live via NAIA.org on Thursday, March 20th at 5:30 PM EST and more updates news and insights can be found at either www.goscpatriots.com or www.sagu.edu/athletics
By Justin Farr, Assistant Athletic Director and Sports Information Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Catharine College is located 50 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky.
Purple and Gold: Purple, Gold
W-L Record: 18-12
Current NAIA Ranking: No. 28
Highest Ranking: No. 14 following a 10-5 start