Coach Bostwick's Take 5
Plus, a preview of tonight's Jarvis game
Head Coach comments on growth areas, NFL playoffs
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s men’s basketball team is nearing the midway point in the conference season and have encountered some trials of late.
Tonight they host Jarvis Christian College, from Hawkins, Texas, who will test the young Lions inside with a pair of 6-foot-7 big men. The 7:30pm game, which will be broadcast in High Definition by SAGU SPORTS Live (for free access, go to www.sagu.edu and click on SAGU TV), has additional issues that are saddling Southwestern.
The Lions, 12-4 overall and 6-4 in the Red River Athletic Conference, have been running the gauntlet since starting the season with a 9-0 mark. Under new head coach Donnie Bostwick the squad has turned heads with a greatly improved and deeper bench along with an upgraded defense.
Last season the team yielded 87 points per game, which was last in the RRAC. This year’s defenders allow just 71, a figure that ranks #2 in the league. That’s a noteworthy rise from #118 (of 120 Division I schools) to #59.
On the flip side, the offense has bogged down at times with a collective .408 team shooting percentage, as well as a .593 accuracy rate at the foul line. The latter is in sharp contrast to last season’s .727 that led the Red River.
Coach Bostwick has been making adjustments to turn the tide and is encouraged the struggle will mend.
The Purple Pride has also endured a few injuries over the past few weeks including one serious loss this week.
Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / Oral Roberts Univ, Plano West HS) is overcoming a foot contusion that idled him during two games. Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Christian Academy) has returned to practice after receiving a medical clearance. He's listed as day-to-day.
During practice on Tuesday, freshman Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian HS) suffered a broken ankle that will cost him the remainder of the season. He is a valued contributor as a speedy ballhandler and defender as the primary back-up to point guard Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ, Trinity Christian School). The line-up will undergo changes as result.
About Jarvis Christian
The Jarvis Bulldogs (4-10, 3-7) always play the Lions tough, and have an impressive starting quintet that is led by center Maurese Jackson. The Chicago native is averaging 13.3 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per outing. Marcus O’Key, a forward out of Lake Charles, La., nets 12.7 ppg and 8.9 rpg. Jacoby Joseph (9.4 ppg), at 6’8, gives them an imposing frontcourt.
A trio of guards; Cedric Richardson (9.5 ppg), Carlton Dean (10.9 ppg) and Brian Lockett (8.1 ppg) lead the Dawgs’ backcourt for head coach Keith McKinnon.
The teams split last year with teams holding serve at home. Overall, SAGU has won three of the past four meetings and lead the series, 9-5. Fans can also the text-oriented version of the game, called Live Stats. Visit the RRAC website at www.redriverconference.com and locate the game under Schedule on the right column.
Click on Live Stats for this free service.
Five Questions for Coach Bostwick
Coach Bostwick’s regular installment of Take Five, a question and answer exchange, continues.
Q1) Five teams are separated by just two games, all with 2nd place within sight. How much of a challenge will it be for SAGU to finish in the Top 4?
DB: Our goal is to finish in the top 3. I like our chances, I really do.
Q2) After Monday's game at St. Thomas, the Lions will have completed the 12-game Round One against the other RRAC teams. OLLU is averaging over 100 points against the conference. How good are they?
DB: OLLU began the season with the most experience returning and it is showing. They added a tough, transfer point-guard who has taken them to another level as well.
They have balance, scoring and toughness. They are the team to beat. I believe they are a Top 10 team in the nation, and they are pushing to be in the Top 5 team.
The press the entire game. Teams who do that have not had much success in Kansas City (site of the week-long NAIA tournament) because of having to play so many games in a short time. But they have unusually good depth.
Q3) The Lions are faring quite well in most all important categories except for field goal and free throw shooting. These same guys have no problem knocking down shots from near 20-feet out. Perhaps you should shoot every shot behind arc, including free throws?
DB: Ha! I have thought about that! But the truth is it is just repetition, mental toughness, and focus. We are battling those areas and it shows in our shooting. Hopefully God will give us the strength and courage to overcome this.
4) What are Jarvis and St. Thomas known for?
DB: Jarvis is another young team but returns a number of players. They are much improved from last year and are competing well this year. I believe they’re building things the right way, developing their younger players.
St. Thomas has a lot of experience back and it is paying off in close games. They are winning them too. They’re 8-2 in conference play including a win over Texas Wesleyan.
They are very similar to us defensively with solid man to man team defense.
They are probably one of the most patient teams offensively, and are well-coached. St. Thomas doesn’t beat themselves.
5) Has a starting line-up for Saturday night's home game been determined?
DB: No. We’re still toying with making some adjustments.
BONUS Q) Who will you be rooting for on Sunday, and who do you think will advance to the Super Bowl?
DB: My teams have already lost, so I am pretty much just watching from the cheap seats. I could see any of the four winning and the teams who play better defense usually succeed. Three of them do, but it is hard to count Tom Brady out.
Monday Night in Houston
After playing Jarvis Christian, the Lions will take on St. Thomas on Monday, January 23, at the Jerebeck Athletic Center in Houston at 7:30pm.
Coaches vs. Cancer Event, Feb. 18
One month from today, Saturday, February 18, marks the annual Coaches versus Cancer Event at SAGU. The men’s and women’s basketball teams will be spearheading various fund-raising endeavors in the support of the fight against cancer.
Southwestern will tangle with LSU-Shreveport that night at 5:30pm (Lady Lions) and 7:30pm (Lions).