Lions 'Purple Rain' leads to road win
Ford, Gentry, 16 threes blowout Bulldogs
Now 15-3, SAGU builds 71-48 lead, then coasts
HAWKINS, Texas -- Author Lee Smith once penned the words, “Raindrops rang like marbles on the tin roof porch.” She could’ve been describing what fell from a cloudless sky in East Texas on Saturday afternoon.
The no. 17 ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s basketball team overcame a determined Jarvis Christian College team, 75-67, in a Red River Athletic Conference matinee.
SAGU, now 15-3 in all games and 9-2 at the midway mark in the RRAC, turned to the long-ball to dispatch the Bulldogs.
The Lions uncorked 10 of their 16 three-point baskets in the second half, turning a close game into a 23-point lead at 71-48 with 3:36 to play.
That’s when Head Coach Donnie Bostwick emptied his bench.
Jarvis did not.
Turning up the heat with a press, they finished on a 19-4 run to make the score look much more respectable. They scored seven points in the final fifteen seconds.
In short, the Lions rained down a season-best 16 triples that doused any upset hopes of the Bulldogs, who knocked off no. 10 ranked Texas College on the road, 55-51, in their previous game.
“It was another team effort and a hard fought road victory,” Bostwick said afterwards. “We went from down five points (40-35) with 15 minutes to go to being up 20 in a matter of minutes.”
“We showed great poise in weathering their storm, then feeding off each other and setting each other up,” the coach added.
“Our pre-game devotion was about Elisha telling Jehoshaphat and the other two kings to dig ditches if they wanted rain,” he explained.
“I kept telling our guys to dig in and get (defensive) stops. Once we did, it was like God opened up the Heavens and rained down 3's.”
Senior guard James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy) and junior Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ., Hondo HS) started firing from outside of the arc, igniting a surge.
Then, according to Bostwick, Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian), Jon Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS) and Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ., Trinity Christian School) joined in the scoring wave.
By knocking down 16 of 33 attempts (53%), the Lions remained unbeaten (11-0) on the road. Overall, it was the team’s sixth straight win and swept the season series for the second consecutive year.
Jarvis fought from the opening tip, riding a strong performance on the boards and a huge disparity in free throws attempted; the Bulldogs had 35, the Lions 13, to keep things tight.
In the end, the defensive tenacity of Team Purple and the offense’s version of Purple Rain were too much for the hosts from Hawkins.
The game was close in the first half, which saw SAGU take a 30-27 advantage to the locker room.
When the floodgates opened, the Bulldogs found guarding the Lions as hard as stacking BB’s.
Gentry gunned in a trey with 13:25 to play. It was followed by back-to-back bombs from the Hemi-powered Ford that lifted the Lions on top, 47-44. They would not trail again.
Thanks to a pair of assists on the perimeter from Rambo, Ford and Gentry ripped the nets for triples on successive possessions to go up, 54-46. ‘Bo spotted Ford again moments later and it was 57-48.
Walter followed a pair of swished free throws with a rebound that started a fastbreak. The sophomore hit Gentry with the outlet pass, who then spotted Rambo for a 3-ball from the side pocket.
Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) duplicated Walter’s free throws to extend the score to 66-48. Gentry answered by going for the jugular.
He cashed in a layup and another trifecta to break it wide open at 71-48.
With the bench getting in over three minutes of action at the end, the Lions’ final basket came when Adam Martinez (Mansfield, Tx / Mansfield HS) assisted on a Reid Brunner (Halletsville, Tx / Halletsville HS) triple.
SAGU led, 75-60, with 0:18 to play. A foul and two backcourt turnovers in the closing seconds led to a pair of free throws, a four-point play and a basket at the buzzer to close the scoring.
Ford finished with a game-high 16 points in 16 minutes of playing time. He made five of eight shots, all from downtown.
Gentry added 14 by stroking 4-of-7 threes while Walter contributed 11. He netted 2-of-3 from long distance and made three of four from the foul line.
Nwelue and Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N. Texas, Connally HS) each grabbed eight boards to lead the Lions, who cleaned the glass to the tune of 48-44.
Rambo scored eight, claimed seven rebounds, dished six dimes and was credited with three steals.
Jarvis’ Marcus O’Key had a good outing with 10 points and as many rebounds. The Hoopin’ Hounds starting line-up reached double figures, including Jacoby Joseph with 14, Jade Allen 12, Chris Davis 11 and E.J. Freeman with 10.
The Lions’ reserves outscored their counterparts from Jarvis, 29-10.
Horns awaiting in the City of Thorns
Southwestern must answer the bell again quickly.
On Monday night, January 21, they travel to Tyler for a huge date against nationally ranked Texas College.
The Steers handed the Lions a 71-58 loss at home in December and figure to be a hearty handful again. They have recently played without a few key players, but should be at full strength.
“We have to refocus tomorrow and prepare for a big challenge at Texas College on Monday,” observed Bostwick.
SAGU has another road game next Thursday before they return home on Saturday, Jan. 26, to play Bacone College at 5:00pm.
That game will be part of the Coaches versus Cancer event that will raise funds for the fight against cancer.
A report on the project will be announced on-line on Sunday night.
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