Lion hoopsters rise to no. 21 in NAIA
Coach Bostwick responds, discusses OLLU
Winning on the road propels move from #28
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s basketball team rose to no. 21 in the National Association Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Top 25 Coaches Poll today.
The Lions had been receiving votes at no. 28 since the most recent poll, which was announced on December 11.
Since then the team has won five of six games, including four of them on the road, to improve to 12-3 on the season.
Their victories included a 75-73 triumph over then-ranked No. 12 Texas Wesleyan University, in Fort Worth, on Dec. 17.
It was SAGU’s first-ever win on the road in a series that the perennial power had dominated, taking 29 of the previous 31 meetings.
The win offset a disappointing setback at home to LSU-Shreveport on Dec. 13.
The Purple Pride muscled other victories over Bacone College (86-60), Langston University (84-73) and the University of the Southwest (86-75); the first two in Oklahoma, the latter in New Mexico.
Saturday’s defeat of the University of St. Thomas, 78-73 was a thriller. The disciplined Celts, who were 8-3, entered the game with the nation’s #13 ranked defense. Trailing 70-66 with 2:48 remaining, the Lions went on a 10-1 run to pull out an impressive victory.
Head Coach Donnie Bostwick, now in his second season in Waxahachie, responded to the new poll following the team’s Tuesday night practice.
“As a coach, I know that rankings this time of year are for fans, players and the SAGU media team. The only ranking that matters is the last one,” he pointed out.
“At the same time I am proud of what this team has accomplished this far and I thank God for helping us through adversity and for blessing is with an opportunity to praise Him.”
“Our team has a primary goal of chasing God's presence,” Bostwick explained. “Where His presence is, there is the peace and strength necessary to accomplish anything. We will praise Him and Play for Him and let the rest take care of itself.”
SAGU will put their risen ranking on the line quickly. On Thursday they travel 246-miles to face the defending champions of the Red River Athletic Conference, Our Lady of the Lake University, in San Antonio.
The Saints lead the NAIA in three-point baskets, averaging 12.6 makes per contest. They are no. 4 in scoring at 91.9 points per game.
Coach Bostwick’s assessment of OLLU was clear and full of praise.
“Our Lady of the Lake is the defending Conference Champion and is one of the best teams in the nation. They lead the nation in shooting and offensive rebounding,” he said. “They play hard and are really tough at home.”
“It will be a big challenge for us, but we have played well on the road and we will just do our best and place our faith in our King to do the rest,” he concluded.
A complete preview of the game, which begins at 7:30pm (CST), will be posted on-line on Wednesday night.
It is the first of five consecutive games on the road for the Jungle Kings. On Saturday they are in southwest Dallas to tangle with Paul Quinn College at 2:00pm (CST).
Texas College (13-2) jumped all the way up from no. 24 to no. 10. The Steers only losses have been on the road, including an 88-80 defeat at OLLU on Dec. 17.
Two other teams from the RRAC receiving votes; Texas Wesleyan at no. 28 and Our Lady at no. 32.
Coach Bostwick’s team was once at no. 20. The Lions were off to a 7-1 start at the time, losing only to Westmont College (Cal), 69-65, in overtime. The Warriors were rated #5 at the time. Currently they are #8 at 12-3.
Two other teams from the RRAC have also appeared in the poll; LSU-Shreveport (9-3) and Wiley College (9-5).
SAGU’s next home game is on Saturday, Jan. 26, when they play host to Bacone College.