Lions, Wildcats clash tonight
Pair of ranked teams meet at 7:30pm
Preview of SAGU vs. Wiley College
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Tonight’s basketball clash between Southwestern Assemblies of God University and visiting Wiley College could be an entertaining one!
When the men’s game tips-off at 7:30pm CST, the teams will have more in common than the color purple.
Both SAGU and Wiley received votes in this week’s NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll, a rarity for the teams, especially simultaneously. Southwestern enters the contest at #33 while the Wildcats are #36 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
SAGU is 11-2 overall and 5-2 in the Red River Athletic Conference, while Wiley is 9-4 and 5-3.
Both teams are more athletic than in previous years and each bring a roster full of playmakers.
The game will be broadcast in High Definition on SAGU SPORTS Live, which can be accessed for free at www.sagu.edu by clicking on the Watch SAGUtv button.
The high quality livestream, which includes the 5:30pm women’s game between the schools, can be viewed on computers, laptops and many other applications with access to the internet.
Men's Game Preview
The Wildcats are retooled under veteran head coach Andre Payne, who is in his sixth season in Marshall.
Wiley’s Sports Information Director Habtom Keleta says the ‘Cats often feed off two post players in 6-foot-7 senior Graylin Smith; 9.2 points per game and 10.9 rebounds per game, and the 6’9 junior Kenny LaGuerre (like La Gary) (10.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg).
The pair holds their own and can dominate the glass and the paint.
Their backcourt may be the heart and soul of their attack. Richard Simon, a 6-foot-1 senior guard from LaMarque, Texas, has been on the mark all season, averaging 16.3 points per game. According to Keleta (ka-LEE-tah), Simon is a catalyst and can be a “scoring machine.”
Christopher Tolbert is a 6’3 guard who contributes 9.8 ppg, and is the team’s best beyond the arc (26 threes) and on the foul line (82%).
Another player fans should watch out for is junior forward, Dominic Jones. He shouldn’t be difficult to locate. Just look up. The 6’4 Houston product plays above the rim and will, on occasion bring the thunder via the alley-oop.
Wiley will again draw upon the zone-busting guard in 5-foot-8 Freddie “Pot” Haynes. Known warmly to fans because, as Keleta points out, “everything he shoots is jackpot.”
Under Payne the Wildcats play a flex offense and a 2-3 defensive alignment. They also press and trap throughout games.
In their most recent game, a 79-66 home loss to St. Thomas (8-6, 6-2 in RRAC), the Celts managed to function against the fullcourt pressure and pulled away in the final five minutes of the game. That broke WC's six-game winning streak.
Wiley averages 79.8 ppg and allow just 74.1, both ranking fifth in the Red River Athletic Conference. SAGU totes a scoring norm of 80.4 (3rd) and 71.3 (2nd). Neither team boasts about their productivity on the charity stripe, where the ‘Cats make 61% of their tries compared to the Lions’ 58%.
SAGU’s top scorers are Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan, Trinity Christian – Cedar Hill), who sports an 18.9 average, Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS) at 10.3 and Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Waco HS), at 10.0.
Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Connally HS) has the highest rebound totes at 6.3 caroms per game.
Women's Game Preview
The women’s tilt pits the Lady Wildcats, who are 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the RRAC, and the Lady Lions at 3-10 and 0-7. The pre-game show on SSL starts at 5:15pm CST.
Wiley is the most prolific scoring team in the league, netting 84.0 ppg. That will be put to the test by SAGU’s 2-3 zone defense, which permits 59.7, second in the RRAC.
Shakendra Moore, who has played only game this season (on Monday), had 15 points. Alieshia Carruthers is the squad’s top scorer averaging 13.7 ppg. Chinwendu Mbah, a six-foot post player, adds 11.8.
Six other players score between seven and nine points per outing for new head coach Courtney Pruitt.
SAGU is paced by sophomore guard Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JuCo, Lakeview Centennial HS), who toss in 12.1 points per contest. Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS), who has been playing through several injuries, buckets 8.1 ppg.
Junior Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS) and senior Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS) yank down 10.3 and 8.3 boards per game, rank fourth and eighth in the Red River. Shaq’s 4.67 blocked shots per game is not only tops in the RRAC, but also the NAIA.
Game Day programs, available at the door, will list the statistical leaders for both teams.
On Deck for Saturday: Home vs. Paul Quinn College
Southwestern will also play at home this weekend. They host Dallas’ Paul Quinn College at 5:30 (women) and 7:30pm (men) on Saturday, January 14. The games will be aired by SAGU Sports Live.
Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, Sports Information Director, at
or at 469-658-2847.