Tres magnifique, Lions win, 76-63
Three-point barrage lifts team, fans
Gibson sparks SAGU with trademark long-balls
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Behind three players in double figures and a sizzling first half of three-balls, the men’s basketball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University defeated Dallas’ Paul Quinn College, 76-63, on Saturday night.
The Lions, now 12-3 overall, moved into a three-way tie for fourth place with a 6-3 mark in the Red River Athletic Conference. Last year's team didn't win their 12th until March 9. Paul Quinn fell to 4-10 and 3-6.
SAGU scored 20 unanswered points, including the last 18 in the first half to build a 47-28 lead that held up for the victory. The visiting Tigers, who had won the three previous games in the series, did go on a 31-17 second half run to draw to within 64-59 with 4:28 remaining.
But two decisive buckets by Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS), who got his first career start, put an end to any thoughts of the Tigers completing a comeback.
The first came when he took a Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan, Trinity Christian – Cedar Hill) pass from just outside the left elbow, and powered in a one-step layup. He had secured position on the inside of the low block and scored easily to give SAGU a 67-59 margin with 3:14 to play.
Then he slammed a perfect lob from Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Waco HS) at the 1:44 mark to nail down the league win.
It was the first non-start in Horne’s SAGU career, though he made three memorable assists down the stretch.
When he dished a kickout dime to Walter, the freshman drained the team’s 13th three-pointer, a fact not lost on the fans. Everyone in attendance receives a coupon for six hot wings from the local Buffalo Wild Wings whenever the team registers thirteen treys.
As the ball ripped the net for a 64-54 lead (5:16 remaining), the crowd erupted in cheers and stomach salivations.
The twelfth triple, a deep rocket from the baseline corner off the hands of Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS), had given the team a 58-44 advantage with 11:15 remaining.
SAGU was led by Rambo, who fired in 21 points. He drained four triples and was credited with four steals as well. Grigsby, a perfect 3-for-3 beyond the arc, finishing with 16 points.
Christian Wood-Dvorak (Halletsville, Tx / Halletsville HS) added 11 points while Walter and Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / Oral Roberts Univ, Plano West HS) each stroked nine points.
Gibson, who missed the first semester, returned from an ankle injury. The senior, #2 in the NAIA a year ago with 103 trifectas, many from neighboring zip codes, made his presence felt.
The Lions got off to a slow start and fell behind 16-10. Introduced to a loud welcome, he would soon pull the trigger from downtown for his first of three consecutive triples. Clay Scarborough, SAGU Sports Live’s play-by-play announcer saluted: “Welcome back, Mr. Gibson!”
Moments later he unleashed one from 10-feet behind the arc. It touched nothing but twine. "Threecola!"
When he was open again, his teammates got him the ball. From the corner he let fly a rainbow that was vintage “Money,” as fans call him. The spark ignited the team, according to head coach Donnie Bostwick.
The team drew to within 28-27 in the closing seven minutes. Kindled by Gibson, the Lions caught fire.
Lions close half on 18-0 run
Pouring in the half’s final 18 points, including a trio of Rambo triples, SAGU had a 45-28 lead at intermission. Dvorak powered in a basket after a Grigsby assist and a Gibson 3-ball wrapped up the opening twenty minutes.
During the scoring spree, Southwestern made 7-of-11 shots (4-of-5 threes) while blanking the Tigers. Quinn missed all six of their field goal attempts and was forced into three turnovers. The Lions also drew three charging fouls in that stretch of action.
SAGU did not shoot well overall, connecting on 24 of 64 shots (.375). After going 11-of-20 outside the three-point line in the first half, they cooled off to finish 13-of-33 (.394). Meanwhile, Quinn was 21 of 44 overall (.477), and 5-of-14 in bids for three.
Free throws were virtually even (SAGU 15 of 21, PQC 16 of 21), as were turnovers; each had 20, and the difference was rebounds. Southwestern dominated the boards, 40-22, with a staggering 27-9 advantage off the offensive glass. That translated into the Lions getting 20 more shots than the Tigers.
They continue to be the RRAC’s #1 offensive rebounding team. Eleven different players had at least one.
Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) and Dvorak both grabbed six rebounds, while Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Connally HS), Rambo and Walter all ripped down five boards.
On Deck: SAGU at LSU-Shreveport
SAGU travels east on Monday for a clash with Louisiana State University at Shreveport (8-6, 6-3 RRAC). The contest is slated for a 7:30pm opening tip. "Shreve Town" is located 185 miles east of Dallas along the Red River in the Ark-La-Tex region.
The (River) Pilots had won five straight until coming up short on Saturday at Texas College, 75-68.
Fans can follow the game on-line via Live Stats, a text-oriented play-by-play webcast.
Visit www.redriverconference.com, click on men’s basketball from the left column. Locate the game in the schedule on the right column and click on Live Stats. SAGU offers this same service for fans during home games.
The team returns home on Saturday, January 21, when they face Jarvis Christian College (4-10, 3-7) at 7:30pm. The game will be broadcast in HD by SAGU SPORTS Live.