SAGU ice Steers, 74-64
Walter, Ford, lead Stash Cats
Southwestern (11-2) rallies with huge second half
TYLER, Texas -- Utilizing their superior depth in convincing style, Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s men’s basketball team erupted for 52 second half points to topple Texas College, 74-64, on Monday night at the Gus. F. Taylor gym.
On a night when the playing surface at the affectionately named “Gus” was wet and slippery, players were excused for the effects of the slippery conditions. Heavy rains, leaks and condensation in the renovated old gym were described as a “hockey rink” by Head Coach Donnie Bostwick.
Both squads had to adjust, with the host Steers and Lions each making 18 first half turnovers.
In the second half a basketball game broke out!
Christian Wood-Dvorak (Halletsville, Tx / Halletsville HS) fired in a threesome of 3-balls early in the second stanza to energize the Lions offense. They were held to 23% shooting (7 of 31) while trailing the Steers, 27-22.
Stash Cats pour in 40
Bostwick doesn’t refer to the non-starters as substitutes. Consistently using ten to twelve players, this years’ Lions attack relies on a stash of ‘Cats. That depth, termed a “beautiful thing” by Bostwick, was ‘looking good’ in the City of Roses.
The group he called on from the bench scored 40 of the team’s 74 points, outscoring the Steers reserves by thirty points.
Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS) led the charge with a team-high 18 points, while junior guard James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy) added 11. The duo each knocked down a pair of threes while SAGU took the game with a 52-37 blitz after intermission.
Texas College, 19-11 a year ago, dominated early in the game by grabbing a 15-point lead. Momentum, however, shifted late in the half.
Trailing by 11 three minutes before recess, Bostwick unleashed a press that proved most effective.
“We applied fullcourt pressure intent on coming away with steals,” Bostwick said. “The guys sped the game up and started trapping successfully.”
It triggered a run that drew SAGU to within five points at the break, and the treys by Dvorak pushed the lead and the game in favor of the Lions. Walter made two huge plays, a steal that he turned into a three-point play, and then drained a triple.
Southwestern had gone from trailing by 15 to leading by 20. The Lions defense held the Steers to five points in the first ten minutes of the second half. They coasted to victory from there.
The Lions are now 11-2 overall and, at 5-2 in the Red River Athletic Conference, are in a tie for third place. TC fell to 7-7 and 3-5.
Dvorak and Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS) totaled 11 and 10 points respectively, giving SAGU four players in double-figures.
The Lions ruled the boards, 48-37, including a whopping 20-9 margin on the offensive glass. Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) grabbed nine boards, while Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ of N.Texas, Connally HS) and Dvorak each had eight. Ford reeled in five.
Most telling in Southwestern’s play is how effective they were while their top two offensive threats; Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan, Trinity Christian – Cedar Hill) and Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ. N.Texas, Waco HS) were saddled in foul trouble or had their shooting touch iced due to the conditions.
No one seemed to notice as the slack was pulled taught by others. Bostwick chimed in, “It’s why we gave a game ball to the bench!”
Beyond the arc was another critical advantage for the Purple Pride. Both teams launched 21 tries, with Lions owning a 9-2 edge in trifectas made. SAGU could’ve broken the game wide open had they converted their free throws. They were 25 of 45 while the Steers sank 20 of their 26 attempts.
The Steers were led by a pair of juniors, shooting guard Wendell Maye and point guard Jamal Roberson, who had 20 and 17. Phillip Burnett-Evans, a senior guard, added 11.
Lions Menu This Week: Wildcats and Tigers
SAGU has two home dates coming this week. On Thursday they entertain Wiley College (9-4, 5-3 RRAC) at 7:30pm.
The Wildcats have won six of their last seven games and are ranked in the NAIA’s Coaches Poll. They swept the series last winter and won the last three meetings.
Dallas’ Paul Quinn College visits the Sheaffer Center on Saturday, January 14, for a 7:30pm start. The Tigers are 3-9 in all games and 2-5 in league action.
Both contests will be broadcast in HD by SAGU SPORTS Live. Viewers can access the NAIA’s finest livestream by clicking on Watch SAGUtv on the home page at www.sagu.edu. The service is free.
Clay Scarborough is the host and handles the play-by-play role. Tim Roberts supplies color commentary.