Lions crack the NAIA's Top 10
SAGU jumps from no. 13 up to no. 8
Next: Paul Quinn College at home on Saturday
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The ascension continues for the men’s basketball team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University. The Lions have built a 23-3 overall record and lead the Red River Athletic Conference with a 17-2 mark.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics released the results of this week’s Top 25 Coaches Poll this afternoon. The Lions, riding a 14-game winning streak, jumped ahead to no. 8.
They were at no. 13 last week and no. 14 the previous week.
SAGU went 3-0 last week, routing the University of the Southwest (4-20), 102-70, on Monday, and then rolled past Huston-Tillotson University (6-20) on Thursday with a 78-64 verdict.
Saturday witnessed one of the team’s biggest wins, a 53-48 defensive struggle against the University of St. Thomas in Houston.
The still-ranked Celts (19-6) had the league’s best home record and the Lions, now at 13-0, were unbeaten on the road.
The Lions were down, 40-33, before rising to win it on the strength of clutch play by Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ., Hondo HS) and offensive rebounding.
Head Coach Donnie Bostwick, now 50-14 at the helm, gave the team took two days off for the Mid-Winter Break. They now resume practices in preparation for the stretch drive of the season.
The Purple Pride has a solo game this week. (the Lady Lions play next on Feb. 18)
Saturday, February 16, SAGU will entertain Dallas’ Paul Quinn College (10-14) in a 4:00pm matinee inside the Sheaffer Center.
The game will be broadcast in HD by SAGU Sports Live. The pre-game show will air at approximately 3:45pm (CST).
Paul Quinn gave the Lions a tough challenge in early January. The team nearly lost a double-digit lead of 34-19.
Seniors James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy) and Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Connally HS) sparked the first half surge.
The Tigers pulled to within 46-44 before SAGU’s defense held them to one basket in 7+ minutes.
Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS) drew a charging call to ignite Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ., Trinity Christian School). Rambo caught fire following a 3-ball, making three consecutive steals during a 16-4 run that led to a 67-55 triumph.
Next Week's Final Home Games
The Lions will have a major date next week when Our Lady of the Lady University (17-10) visits town on Thursday, Feb. 21.
Two days later, Feb. 23, Wiley College (14-11) comes to the Sheaffer Center. The Wildcats were one of three teams to top the Lions at home in 2012
SAGU will recognize seniors Ford and Ward prior to the 4:00pm game.
The regular season ends on Monday, Feb. 25, with a showdown at no. 20 LSU-Shreveport (18-5). The Pilots are the last team to defeat the Lions.
The Top 6 teams in the poll remained unchanged. SAGU is two spots behind Calfornia's Westmont College (21-4). The Warriors handed the Lions a 69-65 overtime loss in November.
Team Purple played without their two seniors, Ford and Ward, in that game. Westmont sent the game into overtime with a three-pointer at the buzzer.
SAGU will be one of eight teams who qualify for the Red River Athletic Conference tournament during March 1, 2 and 4.
The RRAC’s regular season champion and the tournament champ each receive a bid for the NAIA’s national, 32-team tourney.
The field, including pairings, will be announced during a special NAIA Selection Show on-line on March 6.