SAGU improves to 20-7 overall
Horne leads Purple Pride to second win over ranked team
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Senior guard Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Waco HS) scored eight of his team-high 16-points in the closing minutes to lead Southwestern Assemblies of God University to a 64-59 defeat of #19 LSU-Shreveport on Saturday night.
In a critical contest in the Red River Athletic Conference, the Lions overcame a 47-43 deficit with 6:57 remaining by taking the lead and making defensive stops and free throws to salt away a gut-check triumph.
Southwestern picked up their second win against a Top 20 team ranked team in the past eight days. The Purple Pride will tote a 20-7 record in all games into their final three games of the regular season. Coupled with Wiley College's 61-57 defeat of St. Thomas, the Lions moved into a three-way, fourth place tie with those teams.
The Lions, who host Texas College (16-10, 12-8 RRAC) on Monday, will play both Wiley and St. Thomas to wrap-up the regular season next weekend.
The win snapped LSU-Shreveport 's 11-game winning streak. Now 19-7 overall and 17-4 in the RRAC, the Pilots also were knocked out of a first place tie with #7 Our Lady of the Lake University (21-6, 18-6 in RRAC).
It was also the Lions' first-ever win against LSUS, who entered the game with a perfect 11-0 mark against SAGU, including a 6-0 ledger in the Sheaffer Center.
"It was nice to win a heavyweight battle," SAGU head coach Donnie Bostwick said afterwards. "They are the best defensive team in our conference and may be the best team in our conference. Chad (McDowell, LSUS head coach) averages 30 plus wins a season for a reason."
The final five minutes were intense and packed with suspense. It was tied three times and the lead changed hands on four occasions.
Game's Deciding Moments
The Lions took the lead for good, 53-51, on a pair of free throws by Horne with 1:50 remaining. They extended the margin to 56-51 following two plays that cost the River Pilots.
Derrick Parker, a two-time All-Conference forward, scored the equallizer on the game's next possession only to have it nullified for stepping on the end line as he drove upward.
Horne, running the point from the top of the key, passed to Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Connally HS). Double-teamed by Isiah Bazile and Cody Walker, he split them at the left elbow. The official called Bazile (bah-ZEEL) for a foul, though it appeared that Walker should have been cited.
His response, clapping to the official, drew a technical foul (1:13 to go) as well.
Horne knocked down both 'tech' free throws and Ward made one of two on the initial foul call for the five-point margin.
The Pilots, third in the RRAC in free throw accuracy (69%), missed 3-of-4, sandwiching a split pair by SAGU's Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ, Trinity Christian School). SAGU led, 57-52, with 0:54 to play.
In fact, after making all six of their foul shots in a first half that saw the Pilots lead, 30-28, they converted on only four-of-13 after intermission. In the final five minutes they misfired on six-of-eight tries.
Ward made a crowd-pleasing play on the defensive end when he made a Greg Shyne three-ball lose its luster with huge rejection on the wing.
Southwestern's Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) drained two from the charity stripe. LSUS sent him there intentionally, as he entered the game just 12-of-30 (40%). The freshman swished 5-of-6 late in the game. After an errant pair by the River Pilots, Horne calmly wristed two free throws to reestablish the six-point lead at 61-55 (0:31.7).
Shyne made 1-of-2 and, following a missed a pair by SAGU, he raced downcourt and fired a laser from 22-feet to slice the Lions' lead to 61-59 (0:16). Craig Grisgby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS), iced the game with two anxiety-filled shots from the foul line. The Pilots missed two tries from beyond the arc and a Jon Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS) free throw wrapped up the scoring.
Bucket List: Southwestern's key second half baskets
The Lions were forced into netting 14-of-20 from the stripe to secure the win. Their last three baskets were acutely needed.
SAGU, who led 37-30 on a Ward triple and a magnificent Grigsby dunk when he trailed Horne in transition, taking a backward flip and soaring for the slam, succumbed to a 17-6 run by the Pilots.
Walter met an impasse at the low block, pivoted and zipped a kickout pass to a wide-open Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Christian Academy) on top of the key. Release. Rotation. Splash. Three-ball!
Trailing 49-46, Nwelue pitched to a driving Rambo. Entering the redwoods, the 5'10 sophomore lifted a high-arcing runner that kissed high off the glass and dropped through the cylinder at 4:18.
Team Purp took the lead, 50-49, on a coast-to-coast transition play. Ward caught an inbounds pass at midcourt and dished to the Flyin' Lion, Horne, as he sped by on the sideline. He zoomed towards the lane and beat a Pilot defender with a 'high-speed-in-the-net' upload from the left.
Bostwick's Post-Game Views
"Mike (Nwelue) was big tonight as was Duce (Ward) and Ron (Horne)," Coach Bostwick continued "Our bench gave us huge minutes. I thought Feemster's three might have been the play of the game. Ron attacking the basket late on the break was also a big play. We overcame a number of big challenges and did not crack."
"This time of year you enjoy good wins and then wake up tomorrow with all of our focus on Texas College."
SAGU routed No. 5 ranked OLLU, 106-80, last Saturday, only to fall in double-overtime two days later at 6-18 Langston University. After a second defeat of a national power, the Lions hope to avoid a similar downfall.
Texas College visits Waxahachie on Monday at 7:30pm.
The Steers already own two wins over Wiley, as well as signature triumphs against LSU-Shreveport, St. Thomas and Our Lady of the Lake. The game will be broadcast in HD by SAGU SPORTS Live on SAGUtv. SAGU won the first meeting in Tyler, 74-64.
"After the loss at Langston," Horne said as he exited the gym, "we've got to 'bring it' every night. Tonight, we took care of business when it mattered the most."
He felt the difference was how well the coaches prepared the team in practice. "We did what we do very well," he opined. "We did our stuff and we came focused. We wanted this one badly." Note the emphasis on 'we.'
Team and Player Statistics
Saturday night scorers for the Lions saw Horne pace the purple with 16, including two triples and a team-best eight rebounds. Nwelue (NEW-ell-ah-way) added 13 on 4-of-6 shooting. Ward contributed nine points, five boards and blocked three shots. Walter added eight while Rambo had seven points and three steals.
Shyne led three Pilots in double figures with 18. Bazile was credited with 11-points and 10 rebounds. Parker tossed in 10 and ripped down nine caroms, five on the offensive glass.
The defensive tussle saw SAGU hold a narrow 40% (20-50) to 38% (22-58) shooting edge over LSUS. They made 20-of-27 free throws compared to the Pilots' 10-of-19. The foul count saw LSUS collect 24 to Southwestern's 21.
The Lions were outrebounded, 37-30, including the rare occasion of being bested on the offensive boards, 14-9. They countered by forcing 18 turnovers, twelve in the second half, against just 14 of their own, six after halftime.
He said it; LSUS's McDowell
LSU-Shreveport's Coach McDowell said he tips his hat to SAGU. "They played better than us tonight. They had more energy than when they came to Shreveport and they really capitalized on their opportunities. We didn't."
"We've got to take advantage of ours," he pointed out. "They call them 'free' throws, but they were expensive tonight."
"I'm still pleased with our guys and our defense. We made a great run (the 11-game win streak), but we didn't make enough big shots tonight. I was, however, disappointed that we lost our composure late in the game. We have to maintain our cool, no matter what happens on the court."
He praised the play of Horne as well as Nwelue and Rambo for making key foul shots. "Plus, the Coaches versus Cancer (fund-raiser) night was special to Donnie as he lost his father to the disease last year."
2011-12 RRAC Men's Basketball Standings
* - Qualified for RRAC tournament. RV - Receiving Votes nationally, but not enough to make the Top 25.