SAGU goes on the offensive
Lions rule boards in 86-60 win
Crash Test ‘Cats pass with flying colors
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- Onlookers often slow down and rubberneck at the scene of a crash. But not on Saturday.
In fact, one of the staples of #20 ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University (8-2, 3-1 in RRAC) is their reckless desire to crash the offensive boards in search of rebounds.
Thanks to a dominating exhibition in rebounding, the visiting Lions routed Bacone College, 86-60, at the Palmer Center.
Head Coach Donnie Bostwick’s battle cry to players is to “Crash! Crash! Crash the boards.”
Displaying the effort and heart required to snare missed shots on offense is often the X-factor in games. Saturday was no exception.
SAGU owned the rebound battle, 60-31, providing plenty of second chances on offense while often limiting the Warriors to one shot.
Bostwick’s Crashing ‘Cats were sixth in the nation in offensive rebounds, ripping 15.6 caroms per contest after ranking 79th the previous season.
After latching onto 25 against Bacone, they moved up to #2 in the NAIA with an average of 18.1. SAGU has been over 20 three times and has yet to lose the offensive board battle in any of their ten games.
Meat and Potatoes: Defense and rebounding
“We focused on playing our brand of basketball and doing what we do well,” Coach Bostwick said after the game. “Dominating the offensive boards and holding them under 30 percent from the floor (shooting) was what I was looking for.”
After taking a 39-28 halftime lead, the Lions broke the game open in the second half by allowing the Warriors to make only six of thirty attempts (20%). They finished at 28% (17 of 60).
The Lions extended their lead to 66-36 eleven minutes into the second stanza. It swelled to a 35-point margin, 77-42, with 5:09 to play.
“We were in control from the (opening) tip tonight,” Bostwick explained. The Lions vaulted to a 19-3 and never looked back.
“Coming off a frustrating loss (71-58 to Texas College), I liked our focus in practice,” he added. “And it carried over to the game tonight.”
“We really played very unselfish tonight and had a balanced scoring attack. It would be hard for me to mention one guy above the team effort tonight. It was all about ‘team’ tonight,” he summarized.
True. Ten players had between 12 and 22 minutes of playing time, with Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) and Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ., Trinity Christian School) leading in scoring with 13 and 10 points respectively. Nwelue led in rebounds with 11.
A total of 13 players scored points, the result of the team collaborating to make good on 45% of their shots (31 of 69). The Lions bench outscored Bacone’s by a 46-27 count.
Justas Norvilas (Taurage, Lithuania / Versmes) and James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy) bucketed nine points apiece, while Ryan Alford (Dayton, Tx / Dayton HS) scored eight and yanked seven rebounds off the glass.
“We made this trip to pick up two road wins and it was good to get the first one under our belt,” quipped Coach Bostwick.
On Deck: SAGU to meet Langston
The Lions return to action on Monday night when they travel 125 miles west to face Langston University at 7:30pm (CST). The host Lions share SAGU’s mascot.
Last February in Langston, the host Lions stunned SAGU, 87-81, in double overtime.
Langston is located 42 miles north of Oklahoma City, just east of I-35, and 275 miles north of Waxahachie.
LU is 3-6 in all games and tied with St. Thomas for sixth in the RRAC with a 1-2 mark.
“Langston is a very good team,” added Bostwick. “Beating them after three days on the road will be a worthy challenge.”
The Jungle Kings' final home date in Thursday, December 13. Nationally-ranked LSU-Shreveport visits for a 7:30pm contest.
SAGU edged the Pilots last season, 64-59, in a defensive stalemate,
The Lions will wrap up the month with a pair of road dates next weekend.
SAGU treks to Hobbs, New Mexico on Saturday, Dec. 15. They will tangle with the University of the Southwest in an afternoon matinee.
The bucketeers will play their final game this month on Monday, Dec. 17, in Ft. Worth against Texas Wesleyan University.