Hungry Lions take to the road
SAGU (20-8) vs. Wiley (19-9) at 4:00pm
Game available for fans via LiveStats
MARSHALL, Texas -- The young and restless men’s basketball team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University have produced the first winning season since joining the NAIA in the late 1990’s. They are also hungry for more!
After a heart-breaking, double overtime loss on Monday in which they crushed Texas College on the boards, 57-30, including 25-7 on the offensive glass, they travel today to face Wiley College in a 4:00pm afternoon showing.
The Lions have not lost two games in a row this year. With each setback, they have responded with a solid effort on defense, each time producing a win. Today, however, they have a very tough task at hand.
Wiley (19-9, 15-8 in RRAC) is fresh off a 66-64 overtime loss at home on Thursday to LSU-Shreveport that snapped their eight-game winning streak. Southwestern (20-8, 14-8 RRAC) comes in equally ornery, having already lost at home this season to Wiley, 70-68.
The winner of the game has a very good chance to finish in fourth place and position itself for a post-season run in the Red River Athletic Conference tournament next week.
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The Lions defeated the top two teams in the league, Our Lady of the Lake University and LSU-Shreveport, in the past two weeks, then followed each big win with a double-OT setback in which the starting backcourt played out-of-kilter.
Those losses hurt the team’s chances of receiving enough votes to place in the Top 25, which could have led to an at-large bid for the NAIA’s national, 32-team tournament. SAGU will likely have to win the RRAC tournament or make it to the finals and face the regular season champions to qualify.
Look for the bench to energize the team, as James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy), Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / Oral Roberts Univ, Plano West HS) or Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Christian Academy) have done of late.
For SAGU to bounce back and produce a road win, they must offset the 170-mile trek to East Texas with focus and cohesion.
They may be as impatient as a hound waiting for the hunt to begin, as James Sherburn once wrote, but they will meet a similarly anxious ballclub.
The Lions are 3-10 in the series against the Wildcats, who have won the last four meetings.
When SAGU has managed to win in the venerable old Alumni Gym (2-4 record there), it has escaped with a pair of three-point wins. Unless one of the teams brings their A-game, this could wind up being a classic Red River grinder where defense and free throws prove the difference.
Wiley is led by the inside-outside combination of guard Richard Simon (13.5 ppg) and 6’9 center Kenny LaGuerre (12.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg).
The Lions are paced by sophomore guards Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ, Trinity Christian School) and Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS), who produce 17.4 and 11.5 ppg respectively. Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Waco HS) adds 8.5 ppg.
The three bucketeers have also poured in 68, 32 and 31 three-points, while Ford and Gibson have fired in 27 and 23. As a group, SAGU makes 9.4 trifectas per outing. That ranks #5 in the NAIA.
Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Connally HS) is tops among rebounders, grabbing 7.2 per game while averaging 21 minutes of playing time per contest.
Monday Night / Senior Night finale
Southwestern will wrap-up the regular season on Monday, February 27, when they host the fourth place University of St. Thomas (17-11, 15-7 RRAC) at 7:30pm. The Celts (pronounced Kelts) thumped SAGU in Houston by a 76-68 count on January 23.
Seniors Horne and Gibson will be honored in a pre-game ceremony that night.
Key: PPG – points per game average. RPG – rebounds per game average. NAIA – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, Division I.
|7||Our Lady of the Lake||19-3||.864||22-6||.786||--||13-1||9-5||0-0||Won 2|
|11||Texas Wesleyan||17-5||.773||22-6||.786||2.0||12-2||8-4||2-0||Won 1|
|St. Thomas - Houston||15-7||.682||17-11||.607||4.0||10-3||6-6||1-2||Won 1|
|RV||SW Assemblies of God||14-8||.636||20-8||.714||5.0||11-3||7-5||2-0||Lost 1|
|Texas College||13-9||.591||17-11||.607||6.0||10-3||7-8||0-0||Lost 1|
|Jarvis Christian||8-15||.348||9-19||.321||11.5||5-7||4-12||0-0||Lost 2|
|Paul Quinn||7-15||.318||8-20||.286||12.0||5-8||3-11||0-1||Lost 2|