Steers beat buzzer and SAGU, 74-73
Texas College stuns crowd in Double OT
Horne layup with five seconds left gives SAGU the lead
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Waco HS) scored a tie-breaking layup with five seconds remaining in the second overtime to give Southwestern Assemblies of God University a 73-71 advantage over Texas College. It wasn't enough.
Hamid Ford launched a three-point basket as the buzzer sounded for a stunning, 74-73 setback to the Steers. Silencing a raucous home crowd, Ford released a high-arching shot from the top of the key.
“I had no idea if it was good or not,” said the transfer from Los Angeles. “The defender went for my up-fake, then I took a step and shot. I wanted to give it enough air to give it a chance.”
As the Rawlings rawhide ripped the nets, it took the air out of a crowd who thought they had witnessed the game-winner just seconds earlier. It was the storyline of the game.
Did he know it was good when it left his fingertips? “No. Not until it went through (the cylinder). Then I just soaked up the moment for a second."
“Coach (Marquet Norfleet) gave us a great opportunity here at Texas College,” he said. “And he drew up a play to get an open look. The first one was better.”
At the end of the first overtime, with two seconds remaining, he got open in front of the Steers bench and fired a trey from near the sideline. “That one felt good, and I missed it.”
His name, Hamid (HAH-meed), in Arabic, means praiseworthy. He wore it well on Monday.
SAGU head coach Donnie Bostwick concurred. “It was a great game. I tip my hat to Texas College for battling and stealing one at our place.”
The 'Cardiac Cattle' did the same thing last Monday when Jamal Robertson's triple beat Our Lady of the Lake University, 91-88, with just one second to go.
“Hamid is a great addition to our team,” said Coach Norfleet. “We view him as ‘instant offense.’ He’s capable of knocking down shots in the clutch”
Ford, who played at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, attended Arkansas-Monticello and Texas Southern before joining Texas College this semester, made five of nine shots from the arc. A breakdown in defensive coverage left him open long enough to catch the inbounds pass with two seconds remaining.
The win was the ninth in eleven games for the Steers. Nine of those games were decided by less than ten points. They won seven of them. In the end, they took better care of the ball in the clutch and cashed in on a series of missed opportunities by SAGU.
SAGU made seven turnovers and missed four of six free throws at the end of regulation and in the extra sessions while the guests stroked 7-of-9.
The Impact on the Standings
Texas College is now 17-10 overall and 13-8 in the Red River Athletic Conference. They can finish as high as fourth with three league games to play.
The loss was costly for Southwestern, now 20-8 and 14-8 in the RRAC. The Lions slid from a 4th place tie to 6th.
It was also the team's second double-overtime defeat in eight days. Both came two days after huge wins over Top 20 teams; Our Lady of the Lake and LSU-Shreveport.
The first half was fiercely contested as both teams shot less than 30%. SAGU took a 27-21 in to the second stanza. Neither squad could assemble a significant scoring run.
The Lions had a 46-42 lead when a triple by Horne circled and rimmed out. Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) rose like the Phoenix and sent the ball through the rack with a flaming, two-handed dunk.
Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Christian Academy) and James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy) netted a pair of free throws for a 52-49 lead.
A 9-2 surge gave the Steers a 55-52 lead as Robertson made four straight foul shots.
Baskets by Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ, Trinity Christian School) and another by Horne, who utilized a Feemster screen to reclaim the lead.
LaDarren Williams hammered a one-handed jam after Robertson spotted him on a drive. Down by a point, Rambo split a pair of FT’s with thirty-nine second remaining to send the game into overtime, tied at 57.
Rambo supplied a 61-58 lead on two Horne assists. On the first, he drove inside for a scoop shot; the second was a baseline drive around a Horne pic.
The Steers’ Ford, left open on the left wing, triggered a three to tie the game. It was a prelude of the finish.
Knotted at 65, the Lions missed a chance when Grigsby was cited for a questionable charging call on the left block with eight seconds to go. Ford would miss his first date with destiny from downtown.
A traditional three-point play by by bbyNwelue (NEW-ell-a-way) gave SAGU a 68-67 lead. Ford and Wendell Maye made baskets as the Steers went on top, 71-68 at 2:48.
A double-team by Horne and Rambo squeezed the ball near midcourt. ‘Bo cashed in when he dished to Grigsby in transition for the equalizer at 71.
Both teams sqandered an occasion to seize the lead on a missed shot, followed by a SAGU basket being nullified when officials indicated Rambo stepped on the end line.
After Nwelue intercepted a high pass at the top of the key, and Horne knifed inside for a right-handed lay-up for what was almost the game-winner with five ticks left.
Coaches Point of View
“It was a great effort by Ron,” Bostwick said. “He has stepped up his game and really helping us of late. I'm proud of him."
The Steers advanced the ball to midcourt and called a timeout to set-up Ford’s buzzer-beating reply.
“We definitely had our shots,” Coach Bostwick explained. “Playing a third game in five days really shows weakness and magnifies it much more than usual.”
“Plus, fatigue wears on you and reveals inexperience and limits your ability to focus. We battled through adversity but did not play smart and finish. Hopefully it helps us the next time we are in that situation,” he said after the game.
As for the Steers, Coach Norfleet said his club’s knack for winning in pressure situations is because the team puts itself in those predicaments. “Tonight, for example, we never believed the game was over,” he explained.
“I’ve had more talented teams in the past. This group is coming together at the right time. They can grind out wins, making it our best coaching effort yet.”
He said that beating SAGU on the road requires that teams bring their A-game. “Coach Bostwick has turned things around here,” he acknowledged. “They never give up and are very well coached.” He also said that when they “got to driving instead of settling for jump shots, I knew it was gonna be a challenge.”
Team Totals for SAGU, TxC
SAGU owned a decisive edge in statistics. They outshot TxC 37% (29-of-79) to 35% (23-of-65) and dominated the boards, 57-30, including a whopping 25-7 on the offensive glass. It didn’t translate into fouls or free throws despite the physical nature of the game.
The Lions made only 61% (11-of-18) from the charity stripe compared to the Steers’ 92% (22-of-24). Turnovers hindered offensive continuity, as the Jungle Kings had 27 giveaways to the Herd’s 22.
One area the Lions were cold was long distance shooting, connecting on just 4-of-22 (18%), contrasted by the Steers 6-of-22 (30%). After harnessing the Steers to 24% shooting in the first half (7-29), the visitors erupted to make 44 % the rest of the way (16-36).
Individually, Nwelue, who returned to the starting line-up, poured in a season-high 17-points and grabbed 11 rebounds. In the past three games he has scored an average of 13.3 ppg while hitting 16 of 26 shots and 8-of-9 free throws.
Rambo finished with 13 points, nine boards, three assists and five steals. Feemster scored five, but snatched 10 rebounds and distributed three helpers. Horne accounted for five points and 11 boards. The Lions bench produced a 29-2 scoring margin over their Longhorn counterparts.
The Steers had four players in double-digits; Robertson 23, Ford 19, Williams 18 and Maye with 12. Jhirmetrius Cochran laid claim to a dozen caroms.
National Top 25 Coaches Poll
Despite knocking off a second Top 20 team in successive weeks, SAGU went from 13 votes to just nine in this week’s poll, released on Monday evening by the NAIA. Essentially, the Lions are #32. OLLU remained at #7, Texas Wesleyan at #11 and LSU-Shreveport at #19.
In the NCCAA’s weekly Burbridge Ratings, SAGU is at #12 in the 55-team Division. Should SAGU not earn a spot in the 32-team NAIA tournament, they could enter the NCCAA’s Central Regional tournament, March 7-10, in Denver.