GEORGETOWN — Georgetown College, dressing only eight players, added another notch to its Mid-South Conference belt Thursday night.
Maurice Pearson had 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead the undefeated Tigers to an 87-78 win over St. Catharine in Davis-Reid Alumni Gym.
The eighth-ranked Tigers are off to a 9-0 start, 3-0 in the MSC, under first-year coach Chris Briggs.
"Go one day at a time, not worry about that," Briggs said when asked about his perfect start. "It's not about me. It's about them playing."
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Backing up Pearson were Allan Thomas with 16 points, Garel Craig with 14 and Aaron Morris with 12.
No. 17 St. Catharine was paced by Kashiff Carr with 28 points and DeShawn Mitchell with 23.
Georgetown has been going with nine players in the first semester, but Tyrone Shelley sat out Thursday's game because of an undisclosed injury.
Briggs said he wasn't concerned much about the Patriots' press wearing down his team, though.
"A little bit, but I think we have good enough guards," he said. "I wasn't too worried about the press. I was more worried about the transition dunks that they kept getting. I was tied of our guys watching them go dunking in transition, not sprinting back.
"With Anthony Crater and Johonne Hamilton and Garel and Russ (Middleton), we've got four or five guys who can play point guard if they have to. I told them to get in the middle of the floor, attack the press ... and take what they give you."
Georgetown led 38-24 with 4:00 left in the half, but the Tigers were outscored 9-0 to make it 38-33 at intermission.
Carr and Stefan Pope scored on fast breaks, the latter with a thunder dunk. Mitchell scored the last five points with a dunk, another close-range bucket and a free throw.
Mitchell had 10 points in the half, Carr eight.
Middleton led Georgetown with nine first-half points. Anthony Crater and Thomas added eight each.
St. Catharine (5-5, 1-1) got as close as 41-40 early in the second half. The Patriots never pulled even, though.
Georgetown stretched the lead to 11 several times, the last at 68-57 when Johonne Hamilton hit a short runner in the lane.
Mitchell scored five straight points and Carr added a three-pointer to cut the gap to 68-65 with 5:40 left.
Georgetown pulled away from there, with Pearson getting six straight points in a 9-2 spurt.
The Tigers outscored St. Catharine 23-13 on second-chance points, 19-6 at the free-throw line.
"It's always physical with 'St. Cat,'" Pearson said. "You've got to love it. You've got to love the conference rivalry."
Pearson, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound senior, wasn't concerned about a short bench.
"Everybody contributes, everybody works hard," he said. "The good and bad of this game: we still haven't played 40 minutes strong."
St. Catharine was whistled for 21 of the game's 33 fouls, with physical being the tone from the start.
"We've got so many new guys and we've tried to tell them, tried to prepare them all year for an environment like this," Patriots Coach J.T. Burton said. "... You've got to bring it. You can blame it on the refs or whatever. We got beat. That's a great team and Coach Briggs, being his first year, he's doing a phenomenal job."
Georgetown 86, St. Catharine 71: Andrea Howard led five Tigers scoring in double figures with 23 points.
Jessica Waddle and Devon Golden added 18 points each. Waddle shot 4-for-5 from three-point range and Golden led all rebounders with 12. Dev King and Gina Beining added 10 points each.
St. Catharine, which led for the first 15 minutes, got 16 points from Janae Howard.