SAGU topples Rams, 76-60
Defense stifles HT shooters
Tough test arrives at 4:00pm Saturday
AUSTIN, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University, on the strength of a defense that limited Huston-Tillotson University to 27% shooting, rolled to a 76-60 triumph in men’s college basketball action on Thursday night.
The game was the opener for both squads in the Red River Athletic Conference’s 24-game season.
The Lions, now 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the RRAC, extended a 36-31 halftime lead when sophomore Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS) gunned three consecutive triples to open the second half.
Each was set up on assists from Dominique Rambo (Dallas, TX / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ., Trinity Christian School). He finished with six.
SAGU’s man-to-man defense allowed just eight baskets in 33 attempts (24%) after intermission.
Head Coach Donnie Bostwick credited the play of two Lions for their effort in protecting the goal; junior Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ., Hondo HS) and freshman Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / Parkview HS).
Coupled with their defensive exploits and Walter’s trifectas, SAGU busted the game wide open by midway in the second stanza.
“Jon got us going,” Bostwick said. “Hondo and E-Man led us again defensively, and the team was impressive in holding them to 27% from the floor.”
Any chance the Rams had at staging a comeback were crushed by sophomore power forward Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS). He had the appetite for rebounds like a farmhand at hay time.
“Mike really dominated the boards late in the game,” hailed Bostwick. He had eight rebounds and blocked a shot in 27 minutes.
“We really executed well in the home stretch,” he continued. “We took good shots and got stops on defense to finish the game.”
He also pointed out two phases of the game the team could have done better.
“We made twelve turnovers in the first half,” he continued, “and we gave up 15 offensive boards. But we held our own inside and they missed a lot of shots.”
SAGU managed to seize 13 caroms off the glass on offense, a category the team ranked sixth (15.6) in the nation a year ago.
Facing a much improved Huston-Tillotson team, SAGU established an early 10-point advantage. The Rams weathered the ‘purple rain’ and rallied to tie the score with three minutes remaining in the first stanza.
The Lions regrouped to close the half with a strong push to take a 36-31 margin into the locker room. The big play was a 3-ball from the corner by Rambo.
It was the Lions fourth straight win in the series and sixth in the past seven meetings.
Rambo had a complete floor game in leading the way. He tossed in 19 points on six of 13 shooting that included three treys along with 4-of-4 from the free throw line. He had six boards and two steals.
Walter’s performance was almost identical; 17 points, 5-of-8 shooting with a trio of 3-balls while netting all four of his tries from the charity stripe. He grabbed seven rebounds.
Nwelue (pronounced like DWELL-way) produced 14 points to go with his board-work. He was good on seven of fifteen shots from the court.
Gentry registered 11 points and Devante Dunn (Wills Point, Tx / Wills Point HS) seven more.
As a team the Lions converted 42% of their shots, made 10 three-pointers and all 14 of their foul shots.
Lance Richardson came off the bench to pour in 19 points to top the Rams. He wristed 8-of-8 free throws. In fact, HT was 20-of-25 on the line, which helped them keep them in the game.
So effective was the SAGU defense that the Tillotson starting line-up combined just 22 points on 7-of-20 shots. Jonathan Douglas, another reserve, accounted for 10 points.
'Cats and Dogs, Saturday, 4:00pm
The Lions play the middle game in a stretch of three-in-five days when they host Jarvis Christian College for a 4:00pm afternoon game on Saturday. The Bulldogs are 2-4 in all games and 1-1 in the league after edging Wiley College (5-3) on Thursday, 84-83.
SAGU has another big test coming in the third game, Monday, when Texas College comes to town. The Steers are 6-1 and 1-0 after stunning LSU-Shreveport, 82-69, in Tyler.
The 'Horns gave SAGU one of its three losses at home last season.
Current RRAC Standings
Team RRAC Pct. Overall Pct. Streak
SAGU 1-0 1.000 6-1 .857 Won 2
Texas College 1-0 1.000 6-1 .857 Won 4
Langston Univ 1-0 1.000 4-3 .571 Won 2
Our Lady of the Lake 1-0 1.000 2-4 .333 Won 2
St. Thomas - Houston 1-1 .500 5-2 .714 Lost 1
Wiley College 1-1 .500 5-3 .625 Lost 2
Jarvis Christian 1-1 .500 2-4 .333 Won 1
Texas Wesleyan 0-0 .000 5-1 .833 Won 2
Univ. of the Southwest 0-0 .000 3-1 .750 Won 3
LSU-Shreveport 0-1 .000 3-2 .600 Lost 1
Bacone College 0-1 .000 2-5 .286 Lost 2
Huston-Tillotson 0-2 .000 1-5 .167 Lost 1
Paul Quinn College* 0-0 .000 6-1 .857 Lost 1
*Ineligible to compete for the RRAC championship this season