Wood-surfer sparks Lions victory
Second half eruption leads to 90-85 triumph
Wood-Dvorak's play says: "We're not losing!"
HAWKINS, Texas -- Less than half of the thirteen teams in the Red River Athletic Conference have a winning record on the road. Life away from home is rarely comfortable. Even in the NBA, there are only ten of thirty teams over .500 after traveling to play.
Thursday night’s trek to the East Texas small town of Hawkins was another case in point.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (19-7, 13-7 in RRAC) improved their road mark to 7-5 with a hard-fought 90-85 triumph over Jarvis Christian College (8-17, 7-13 in RRAC).
The Lions led throughout the second half, but had to stave off a determined Bulldogs team in the closing minutes to earn the ‘W.’ It completed a sweep of Jarvis this winter, having defeated them last month in Waxahachie, 99-79.
SAGU extended a 39-38 halftime lead by building a 12-point second half lead. The Bulldogs then rode the hot-hand of junior point-guard Brian Lockett to draw to within three points, 88-85, in the final minute.
Jarvis got the defensive stop they needed and sat up a bid to tie the game on a shot from beyond the arc. It went begging and the Lions' Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS) iced the game with a pair of free throws with 0:24 to go.
“We won a tough one on the road,” head coach Donnie Bostwick said afterwards. “It got closer than we’d like at the end, but we endured and held them off. We’ll take it. Jarvis was tough tonight.”
On Monday night the Lions weren’t as fortunate. Langston University stunned SAGU with a late rally and eventually won the game in double-overtime, 87-81.
With four league games to play, Jarvis is in a three-way tie for eighth place with Langston and Paul Quinn College for the last spot in next month’s RRAC tournament. (See standings below)
No wonder Jarvis was fighting as though their season depended on it.
Sizeable fight in these Bulldogs
The Bulldogs were ‘hot’ dogs in the first half, outshooting SAGU 51% to 35%. They grabbed an early six-point lead before Southwestern called a timeout.
Coach Bostwick went to his bench with a smaller line-up. They began to put pressure on the ball and apply traps to counter Jarvis’ ability to get inside for buckets. It worked, causing momentum to switch sides.
Despite the Bulldogs higher accuracy, the Lions took the slimmest of leads into the locker room.
Another major factor was the team’s all-out nature in crashing the offensive boards, where SAGU had twelve of their 15 grabs at the break. It translated in getting an additional 13 shots against the host Canine Cagers.
SAGU’s second half prominence saw them kick their game up a notch!
Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ, Trinity Christian School), Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ of N.Texas, Waco HS) and Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / Oral Roberts Univ, Plano West HS), all guards with radar-range, began lighting up the night sky with 3-balls, combining for 11 of SAGU’s 13 triples.
James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy) and Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Christian Academy) also ripped the nets from downtown.
That created opportunities inside, where Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) cashed in.
Quiet in recent weeks, Nwelue (NEW-ell-a-way) slammed a pair of dunks and was one of four players to reach double figures in scoring.
Bostwick praised several rotation players for “really giving us a lift.” Besides Nwelue and Feemster, he cited two others who shone brightly at critical times.
During one minute in the second half, Adam Martinez (Mansfield, Tx / Mansfield HS), a 5’11 freshman guard, contributed two assists, made a steal and snatched a rebound.
Then came a defining play in the closing minutes that spoke loudly to the coach.
Christian Wood-Dvorak (Halletsville, Tx / Halletsville HS), the Texas UIL 3A Player of the Year as a junior, went wood-surfing for a loose ball. His mad dash and leap to gain possession was capped off with a pass that finished with Grigsby making a layup on the other end of the court.
“That effort,” according to Bostwick, “said to me, ‘We’re NOT going to lose tonight.” They didn't.
While he’s known for his wild locks and infectious smile, Dvorak is the team’s resident blue-collar worker. When he punches in, he comes to work. In limited court-time on Thursday, he went scoreless but racked up five rebounds and three assists.
Rambo led the Lions with 19-points, including four treys, seven assists and three steals. Horne added 16 and four trifectas and three assists. Gibson, who is heating up of late, fired a trio or 3-bombs in his 11-point showing.
Nwelue had a double-double; 10-points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Ford and Grigsby contributed eight points apiece while Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Connally HS) tallied seven points and eight boards.
Feemster, a 6’5 wing, scored five and snared eight caroms off the backboard. In all, SAGU won the rebound battle by a 44-34 count, which included a 15-7 advantage on offense.
The Lions’ shooting totals were impressive. After going 15-for-42 in the opening twenty minutes, they were 19-of-32 (59%). They finished at 46% and made nine of fourteen free throws. Jarvis shot 48% (30-62) and were 15-of-25 on the line.
“I think we ran the floor better tonight,” Bostwick concluded. “We were able to wear them down a bit.”
Lockett paced the Bulldogs with 24-points. Cedrick Richardson had 15 and Maurise Jackson, a 6’7 senior from Chicago, supported with 13-points and 14 boards.
The win gave the Lions five in their last six tries against Jarvis. The Bulldogs, however, maintain an 8-7 series lead. SAGU is 4-3 at home and 3-5 at Hawkins.
Lions now tied for 5th with Wiley and Texas College
SAGU has four games remaining, and are one game out of fourth place. The Lions are also one game out of seventh place. They are tied in the loss-column with Wiley College and Texas College, teams they play next week.
LSU-Shreveport meets SAGU on Saturday
First on their agenda is No. 19-ranked LSU-Shreveport (19-6, 17-3 in RRAC). The Pilots visit Waxahachie on Saturday night in a game that could prove to be a fierce dual between teams intent on making noise in the post-season.
LSUS won the first encounter last month, 83-69, and will cruise into town on an 11-game winning streak . SAGU will be searching for their first-ever win over the River Pilots, who have taken all eleven meetings dating back to 2004. SAGU is 0-6 in the Sheaffer Center against them.
With many students gone for the weekend - Mid-Winter Break - Southwestern welcomes in-town fans and newcomers to checkout the match-up of ranked opponents.
A collection will be taken during halftime of the game as part of the national Coaches versus Cancer project. The game will also be broadcast in HD by SAGU Sports Live. For free access, visit www.sagu.edu and click on the Watch SAGUtv button.
|7||Our Lady of the Lake||18-3||.857||21-6||.778||--||13-1||8-5||0-0||Won 1|
|12||Texas Wesleyan||15-4||.789||20-5||.800||2.0||11-1||7-4||2-0||Lost 1|
|RV||St. Thomas - Houston||14-6||.700||16-10||.615||3.5||9-2||6-6||1-2||Lost 1|
|RV||SW Assemblies of God||13-7||.650||19-7||.731||4.5||10-2||7-5||2-0||Won 1|
|Texas College||12-7||.632||16-9||.640||5.0||10-3||6-6||0-0||Won 3|
|Jarvis Christian||7-13||.350||8-17||.320||10.5||5-6||3-11||0-0||Lost 4|
|Paul Quinn||7-13||.350||8-18||.308||10.5||5-6||3-11||0-1||Won 1|