Lions' encore fails in double overtime
Late lead evaporates on the road
Ford, Gibson trigger long-range blasts
LANGSTON, Oklahoma -- Having spent themselves during two critical home battles on Thursday and Saturday, the men’s basketball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University came up short in a double overtime, 87-81 defeat at the hands of 10th place Langston University on Monday.
SAGU, who returned to the NAIA’s Coaches Poll earlier in the afternoon following their 106-80 rout of #5 ranked Our Lady of the Lake University on Saturday, may have exited just as quickly with the upset loss.
“You have to be tough to win on the road,” said Head Coach Donnie Bostwick, “and we made just enough mistakes to lose. Langston played us very hard as they are trying to get into the tournament themselves.”
Southwestern, 18-7 in all games and 12-7 in the Red River Athletic Conference, is now tied for 5th with both Wiley College (16-8, 12-7) and Texas College (16-9, 12-7). Our Lady had a similar result on the road, where Texas College topped them on a last second three-pointer, 91-88.
At 7-18 and 7-13 in the RRAC, Langston is just a half-game out of eighth place. Only the top eight teams receive a bid for the three-day event on the first weekend in March.
SAGU sped to a 41-34 lead at the half before succumbing to a Langston team that had more in their tank as the game wore on.
The Purple Pride still led by seven with six minutes remaining, but yielded to the hard-charging hosts. “We had about five chances in the closing moments to win it, but we just couldn’t close the deal.”
The game was knotted at 69 at the end of regulation and at 77 heading into the second, five-minute overtime session.
“We scored the first four points in the last overtime,” the coach said while riding the team bus during its five-hour jaunt home.
“Needing two or three defensive stops to hang on, we didn’t get any. So give Langston credit, they fought hard to the end.”
“A very good team has to find a way to win the close, tough games,” Bostwick continued. “It was a frustrating loss for us. Langston is a hard place to play and their atmosphere was great. Tonight, the way they played, they (LU) seemed bigger than us.”
“It was our third game in five days. Driving 250 miles and playing on the same day was a factor,” the first year coach explained.
“Having just played two emotionally draining games against Wesleyan and Our Lady took a lot out of the guys.”
“We have to rest and regroup and make up for it somewhere,” he concluded.
On Deck: Jarvis and LSU-Shreveport
His Lions will be on the road again on Thursday when they travel 125 east and north of Tyler to face Jarvis Christian College (8-16, 7-12 in RRAC) in Hawkins, Texas. They return home on Saturday where they will have their hands full with #18 LSU-Shreveport (18-6, 16-3 in RRAC) in town.
Like a dipstick, the indicators that gauge a team’s intensity are offensive rebounds and opponents’ field goal percentage. They display vitality and drive.
Langston outrebounded Southwestern, 42-34, and, impressively, held a 12-9 margin on the offensive glass over the best team (SAGU) in the conference in that category. The home team also outshot the visitors, 49% to 40%. Making twelve three-pointers kept Southwestern in contention.
As oft can be the case, officiating can side with the hosts. They did not, as both squads attempted the same number of free throws (20), with SAGU making 15 to LU’s 13.
Southwestern’s starting line-up connected on a combined 10-of-29, giving ample opportunities for the second unit. And they didn’t disappoint.
Stat Leaders for the Lions
Junior guard James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy) had a season-best 19-points. He stroked 7-of-11 from the field, including a trio of triples. Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / Oral Roberts Univ, Plano West HS) returned after sitting out two games to pour in 15. The senior sharpshooter was 5-of-8 from the outer limits.
Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ, Trinity Christian School), who was expected to miss the game (with a leg injury), came off the bench and netted 13-points in 33 minutes.
The threesome who played above the rim against OLLU, Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Waco HS), Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS) and Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Connally HS) combined to make 3-of-16. Ward, however, did lead the Lions with six rebounds.
Langston was powered by guard Paul Campbell, the 6’8 Nate Barfield, and Modteets Williams. Barfield bucketed 17-points and led with 10 boards, while the other duo did their damage off the bench. Campbell and Williams racked up 18 and 17 points.
“He stepped up and surprised us,” Bostwick said of Williams, who drained a late triple for the host Lions.
With five games remaining, three at home – and with four of the five possessing winning records, SAGU has their work cut out for them. Fortunately, this group has a work ethic that is off the charts.
As for Monday’s experience, consider it “life on the road.”