Guns set for stun, top Bacone, 100-49
Lions roar during 30-4 run
Unbeaten SAGU hosts USW Mustangs on Monday
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- The Star Wars’ storm troopers were known for their stun guns. Saturday night, so were the SAGU Lions.
In their season-opening Red River Athletic Conference game, Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s basketball team were locked and loaded. If making more than half of their shots wasn’t effective enough, knocking down 16 three-pointers surely were stunning evidence these are not the Lions of yesteryear.
SAGU, with all 13 players scoring, used a 30-4 run to break the game open en route to a 100-49 road victory over Bacone College (2-5, 1-1 in RRAC). It improved their overall record to 7-0 and, for the third straight season, began their RRAC season with a win.
“It was a very focused effort after a good week of practice,” head coach Donnie Bostwick said after the game. “It started with good defense and, eventually, our depth really wore Bacone down. Everyone scored in a very unselfish team effort.”
Southwestern led from their opening shot, a three-ball by Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ); in grabbing a 10-2 lead 4:06 into the game. The Jungle Kings applied a quick, man-to-man defense that muzzled the Warrior shooters to a 1-of-10 start from the field.
In setting the pace for the contest, the Lions then unleashed their own post-Thanksgiving muskets.
Leading 16-6, they hit the bull’s eye on 8-of-their-next-10 shots and made 12-of-20 during the next 8:02 to extend their lead to 46-11. During that segment, the Warriors missed seven-of-eight and committed six turnovers.
The lead would reach 39 before SAGU took a 55-18 lead into the locker room at intermission.
The Lions were 22-of-45 and silenced the Warriors on 4-of-29 (13.8%) with a defense best described as “all out.” SAGU had a 33-19 advantage on the boards, including a 12-6 margin on the offensive glass.
Sophomore guards Rambo and Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS) netted 14 and 10 points respectively in the opening twenty minutes.
The second half was stamped "ditto," with the Lions' two platoon attack widening to include three more reserves. By the time the lights went out in the Palmer Center, the Warriors starters had finished with a combined 20-points on 5-of-36 shooting.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the game was the 46-29 point advantage provided by the bench. No one played more than 21 minutes.
Lost in all the fanfare of the great start by SAGU this season has been the measured beginning by the team’s top two players; Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N. Texas, Waco HS) and Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N. Texas, Connally HS).
The pair that led the NAIA in scoring and rebounding last winter has enjoyed the team’s success while playing comfortable roles in the starting line-up. Wait until they warm up.
Cats Stats: Rambo bags 23-points
Rambo led four teammates in double-figures with 23 points. He drained 8-of-11 shots, including 6-of-8 from long distance. He also reeled in seven rebounds, all accomplished in less than 21 minutes of playing time.
Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS) poured in 15 in 15 minutes, hitting six of his eight attempts. In making good on 3-of-5 triples, Walter was one of nine Lions to rip the nets from beyond the arc.
Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) turned in a masterful exhibit. The energetic forward had a game-high nine boards and failed to miss any of his six shots.
Grigsby, who combines with Rambo to give SAGU a pair of lockdown cornerbacks, netted 10 points and, along with Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian) racked up five assists.
Others to score included Caleb Feemster, who netted 8-pts, Christian Wood-Dvorak 7, Horne and James Ford 5 apiece, Ward 4, while James Southerland, Adam Martinez and Clayton O’Neill all added 3. Guidry contributed two points.
Backing Nwelue (new-WELL-ah-way) in rebounds were; Feemster and Wood-Dvorak with 8, Rambo 7 with Ward and Horne each snaring four.
Bacone finished the game shooting an uncharacteristic 22% (14-64). They did have some success on the foul line where they swished 17-of-26 compared to SAGU, who tossed in only six of twelve tries. Bacone was called for only 12 fouls in the game.
Lions seek to corral Mustangs
SAGU will be back on the court on Monday, December 5, when they entertain University of the Southwest (NMex) at 7:30pm. It will be the Lions last home date until January 7. USW is currently 4-2 in all games and are 2-1 in league action.
The Mustangs lost their RRAC debut at home to St. Thomas, 66-64. Then they outlasted Jarvis Christian College 100-84 and bested Paul Quinn College on the road on Saturday, 84-74.
Chevis Thompson is the head coach of the Ponies, who seldom lack for offensive firepower. They are again led by forward Demetrius Evans, who averages 24.4 ppg. Chris Avery and Tyrone Dobbins net 16.4 and 11.2 points per outing.
SAGU has won the past three meetings. They swept the season series last year; 99-89 at home and 98-91 in Hobbs, New Mexico.
The Mustangs are averaging 82.4 ppg (21st in NAIA) and allow 77.0. SAGU is at 76.7 on offense and 59.5 on defense, which ranks #8 nationally.
Three of the top four teams in the NAIA are from the RRAC in terms of three-point baskets made per game. After #2 Our Lady of the Lake University (10.7 per game) and Texas Wesleyan University (10.6), are the Lions (10.1). Robert Morris University (Illinois) leads the nation (11.2). The Eagles are currently 9-0.
The Lions' top scorers through seven games are guards; Rambo at 16.0, Horne 11.5 and Grigsby 11.0.
After Monday, SAGU will close the month with two road games on Saturday (Dec. 10) at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin and Monday (Dec. 12) at Our Lady of the Lake. Both games will commence with tip-offs at 7:30pm. The Rams are 0-5 while the Saints, who pour in an average of 92.6 ppg, are 5-3.