SAGU grinds out 95-88 thriller over OLLU

No. 7 ranked Lions can clinch title on Saturday

Box Score

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  As Southwestern Assemblies of God University ground out a 95-88 triumph over Our Lady of the Lake University on Thursday night, one of the Lions’ goals was within sight.

The battle for their first-ever Red River Athletic Conference championship, played before a raucous Sheaffer Center crowd, assured the Lions of no worse than a share of the co-championship.

They need only a victory over Wiley College on Saturday or a loss by LSU-Shreveport against St. Thomas to clinch the title outright.

Winning the RRAC crown promises the team the #1 seed in next week’s conference tournament, which SAGU hosts, as well as a guarantee into the 32-team national tourney of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Should the Lions fail to defeat Wiley, along with the LSUS Pilots winning in Houston, the Red River title fight will come down to a winner-take-all game on Monday night in Shreveport. That game will start at 7:30pm at The Dock.

The win over the two-time defending RRAC champion Saints was a highly-charged contest between two very similar rivals.

Seemingly every shot was dared and confronted in an epic game of exchanged scoring runs.

Both teams were managed by head coaches who were able to get maximized production from their players with very different sideline styles.

SAGU’s Donnie Bostwick’s strategy is orchestrated as a hands-on mentor, while the fiery Russell Vanlandingham operates in a high-drama scheme that is equally effective.

It was like a chess match on steroids. Pong played at warp speed.

The score would be tied seven times and the lead changed hands on ten occasions. Much of the jockeying for position took place in the first half, when the Blue Halos maintained the lead while the Lions set the pace.

OLLU led by nine, 43-34, late in the half, before Southwestern scored the final five points of the stanza to trail by four.

Second Half Revisited

The Saints grabbed a 48-43 advantage in the opening moments of the second half when Eddie Ortiz gunned a three-pointer, thanks to an assist from Robert Martinez.

OLLU’s three-headed, long distant marksmen of Martinez, Ortiz and Lo’Ron Smith (all seniors) provide the nation’s top attack from the perimeter. The former entered the game atop the NAIA with 115 treys, while both Ortiz and Smith had 80 trifectas.

The Saints average just under 13 triples per game, most in all the land, while SAGU’s no. 26 ranked three-ball average of 7.4 pales in comparison.

Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ., Trinity Christian School) and senior James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy) started the game with 50 and 38 threes.

Rambo launched one of his high-arching rainbows from the left edge of the top of the key over Ortiz, triggering a critical comeback by the Lions. A 13-6 surge regained the lead at 56-54 with 15:26 left in the game.

They would never surrender it the rest of the way.

Click here to view the SAGU Sports Live “Plays of the Night”

While the Saints offer a bombs-away assault on offense, plus a fullcourt press the entire game, SAGU counters with the no. 3 ranked shooting defense in the NAIA. They allow opposing teams to make just 37% of their attempts.

They also make the fifth most steals.  One of them proved pivotal.

A.J. Govan raced the ball downcourt for Our Lady. Guarded by Rambo, he cut to his left. That’s when Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ., Hondo HS) left the man he was covering, Marcus Thompson, and snuck in behind Govan (GO-van).

“Hondo” reached in with his right hand to poke the ball towards the sideline. He tracked it down, narrowly avoided going out of bounds, then tightroped his way along the border and darted the distance for a layup to tie the game at 50. (It is one of the featured plays on the SSL highlight tape - previously cited)

Gentry then forced a turnover when he dove to tip the ball away, giving the Lions possession. Rambo dribbled between two defenders, thanks to a high pic from Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / Parkview HS).

He penetrated the lane as Virgil Cissoko and Thompson converged, they left sophomore forward Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) wide open on the right block.

The 6’5 'exclamation mark' personified, took a bounce pass and thundered a two-handed dunk to knot the score at 52.

A moment later he eschewed a pass to Guidry on the left, knifed between two Saints and jetted into the lane. As he appeared to be passing to the left, he swung the ball to his right and layed in a soft, right hook.

His outside shot not falling; the junior magician took to driving or setting up teammates with passes.

After stroking two free throws for a permanent 56-54 lead, the Lions called the for identical play that resulted in the Nwelue slam.

Instead of pitching to his right, ‘Bo zipped a pass to the left corner for Jon Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS).

He delivered a 3-ball from the side pocket for a 61-54 margin, capping an 18-6 run.

SAGU expanded their lead to lead to 14 at 76-62, thanks to a pair of technical fouls called on the Saints backcourt. Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian) converted four straight free throws in the process.

With Rambo out, seniors deliver

When Rambo drew his fourth personal foul with 9:35 remaining, SAGU led 78-67.

The Cats’ catalyst did not return until the 5:07 mark. During his absence the Lions held serve, an acute juncture in which the Saints went 2-of-7 from the floor and failed to capitalize.

In that stretch it was senior forward Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N. Texas, Connally HS) who rose to the forefront. The game’s top rebounder was as greedy as a fox in a henhouse, securing missed shots like a Venus flytrap.

Perhaps the biggest basket in the game came from the club’s other senior. Nursing an 82-76 lead, Ward reeled in a defensive carom and threw to Ford at midcourt.

“Truck” advanced the ball in transition toward the right wing. With Gentry open in the right corner and Guidry calling for the ball on the left, Ford had a better idea.

Seeing defenders retreating, he pulled up and canned a triple that helped keep the Halos at bay.

Following misses by Thompson and Smith, Ward and Walter claimed the boards. Guidry added a bucket when he drove the left side and backed in a left-handed, eight-foot leaner to give the hosts an 11-point lead (87-76).

Rambo re-entered the fray, though the Saints kept up the pressure. They drew to within 89-84 as Cissoko cashed in an offensive rebound and Govan converted a layup.

Throughout the Lions solid second half, they pushed the ball upcourt and attacked the paint. It resulted in numerous fouls; 36 against OLLU (they lead the nation with 26.7 per game). SAGU picked 26 fouls - without pressing.

SAGU could have put the game away from the charity stripe.

Uncharacteristically they missed 15 free throws in the second half.

The reason for their shaky performance on the foul line may well have been the lingering effects of the halftime “Harlem Shake” rendition in the student section.

It kept the Saints within striking distance. Even OLLU was less than stellar, misfiring on seven of 21 second-half free throws.

Following a pair of makes by Mike Brown that drew OLLU to within five as 1:53 was showing on the game clock, SAGU iced the game with back-to-back plays.

Guidry pulled in a Martinez miss on the right wing and spotted Ward alone on the right. He rambled to the rack between Thompson and Ortiz, but his layup rolled out and into the opening mitts of Nwelue.

Like a vulture, he cleaned up the spill with an offensive slam at 1:08.

On the Saints next trip up the floor, Thompson’s pass to Martinez, who came off of two baseline screens, was tipped and stolen by Rambo. He dashed three-quarters of the court for a 93-84 backbreaking lead to ice it.

The sweet win was SAGU’s sixteenth in succession, and elevated the team’s overall record to 25-3. At 18-2 in the RRAC, they own a two-game lead over LSU-Shreveport (21-5, 16-4 in RRAC) with two games to play.

Our Lady slipped to 18-12 and 14-8. The high-powered Saints, who have scored over 100 points nine times, finished the regular season by going 3-5.

Standout Performances by Players

Rambo led all scorers with a career-high 33 points. He netted 11 of 22 shots, including two triples (one in each half), to go along with 9-of-12 free throws and four assists.

The junior strengthened his NAIA lead in steals by collecting six more.

Four other players reached double-digits, keyed by Ward’s double-double of 10 points and 11 boards. He added four steals as well.

Nwelue scored 14, Guidry 13, Gentry 10 and Walter eight points.

Martinez paced the Saints with 26. The senior from Houston was 9-of-23 overall and 5-of-15 beyond the arc. Smith and Govan contributed 14 and 13 points respectively.

Difference-Making Team Stats

SAGU won the boards, 46-35, consisting of a 17-9 advantage on the offensive glass. Once they took the lead in the second half, the Lions were on the receiving end of 22 fouls.

The Lions made 35-of-55 free throws compared to the Saints’ 23-of-33.

Our Lady finished with 11 three-point field goals; SAGU had six.

The Lions, who made 34% of their shots in the opening half, connected on 50% in the second half for a 41% total. OLLU went 41% and 36% for a game average of 38%.

The teams could meet again the RRAC tournament semi-finals on Saturday, March 2.

OLLU still leads the series between the teams, 6-3, though SAGU has taken three of the past four meetings.

Saturday Home Finale at 4:00pm

The final home game of the regular season is on Saturday, February 23. The Lions will pay special tribute to their senior co-captains, James Ford and Duce Ward.

Following the 4:00pm game against Wiley College, the Athletic Department will host a special reception in the adjacent Mundt Room in honor of winning at least a share of the RRAC championship.

The game will be broadcast in HD by SAGU Sports Live. A webcast account of the game, on LiveStats, will also be provided for fans. Access for the latter is on the RRAC website by clicking on the icon under the Scoreboard column.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 469-658-2847.

SAGU-vs-OLLU: Last Five Meetings

Total Points Scored:
SAGU
466 pts;  93.2 average
OLLU 448 pts;  89.6 avg.

Free Throws
SAGU 117 of 183,  .639
OLLU 116 of 170,  .682

In each game, the winning team has attempted more free throws. In SAGU’s three triumphs they have averaged 40 FTA (84-of-120). OLLU has averaged 45.2 FTA (62-of-91) in their two wins.
 

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SAGU hosts John Brown Univ. on Thursday PM

Jan 15, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Lady Lions (8-8) vs Golden Eagles (11-3) at 6:00pm Lions (13-1) vs Golden Eagles (12-3), 8:00pm SAGU Sports Live to broadcast both games in HD WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Southwest...

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Grit and heart propel Lions over Stars, 68-63

Grit and heart propel Lions over Stars, 68-63

Jan 14, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Bostwick calls defensive standoff his favorite game SAGU hosts John Brown (12-3) in Thursday night biggie Box Score and Standings links below WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  They ...

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Replay Lions' Top 12 Plays-of-the-Night

Replay Lions' Top 12 Plays-of-the-Night

Jan 12, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

SAGU takes 80-71 conference win behind playmakers Lions host Oklahoma City University on Monday at 8:00pm WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  One of the wonders of film is the ability to recal...

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Pair of scoring surges propel Lions to 80-71 win

Pair of scoring surges propel Lions to 80-71 win

Jan 12, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

SAGU tops Science & Arts with 12-0, 11-0 runs Oklahoma City visits the Sheaffer Center on Monday night Links below to:  Box Score, Play-by-Play, Standings and Photo Gallery WAX...

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SAGU looks to brand Drovers with W's

Jan 11, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Lady Lions host USAO at 3:00pm; Lions play at 5pm SAGU Sports Live will broadcast all of today's excitement! Links to HD Video and LiveStats listed below PREVIEWS of both games...

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Lions steady in 86-80 road win over Wesleyan

Lions steady in 86-80 road win over Wesleyan

Jan 10, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Gentry, Walter, Adoyi come up big to stymie Rams SAGU hosts USAO on Saturday at 5pm; rematch of NAIA opener Box Score and Standings (links below) FORT WORTH, Texas  --  Southw...

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SAGU in Ft. Worth to tangle with Rams

SAGU in Ft. Worth to tangle with Rams

Jan 09, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Fans can make the short trip or follow on Live Stats Rebounding is urgent for Lady Lions; all-out defense for Lions Men's SAC Preview of all 11 teams (click here for attachment) ...

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SAGU moves up to No. 2 in NAIA Poll

SAGU moves up to No. 2 in NAIA Poll

Jan 08, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Lions earn one first-place vote, trail UPike (12-1) Waxahachie, Texas — January 9, 2014 — Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) appears at No. 2 in this week’s NAI...

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Rambo garners National Player of the Week award

Rambo garners National Player of the Week award

Jan 07, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Coach Bostwick explains individual honor is for the team Link to NAIA official announcement:  http://www.naia.org/  View Highlights vs. MACU (directions below) WAXAH...

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Rambo named SAC Player of the Week

Rambo named SAC Player of the Week

Jan 07, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Senior point guard scored 40 and 32 points in two games Watch highlights of the win over MACU on Facebook WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  On the strength of averaging 36 points per ga...

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Lions place five in double-digits, win 79-66

Lions place five in double-digits, win 79-66

Jan 07, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Back-to-back-to-back treys are one of three scoring runs Rambo, Walter, Feemster pace the Pride; SAGU plays Thursday at Rams Box Score, Standings links (below) BETHANY, Oklahoma &n...

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Lions cage high-scoring Evangels, 82-77

Lions cage high-scoring Evangels, 82-77

Jan 05, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

SAGU hands MACU first conference defeat Rambo, Feemster combine for 52 pts, defense forces 23 turnovers Photo Gallery, Box Score, Standings (links below) WAXAHACHIE, Texas  -- &nbs...

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Lions hold off MACU, 82-77, improve to 9-1

Lions hold off MACU, 82-77, improve to 9-1

Jan 05, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  No. 3 Southwestern Assemblies of God University overcame a quality opponent in nationally ranked Mid-America Christian University (Ok), 82-77, on Saturday evening i...

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SAGU hosts first-ever SAC games on Saturday

SAGU hosts first-ever SAC games on Saturday

Jan 04, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

MACU teams lead the SAC; men score 99 ppg Evangels rosters sprinkled with Texans; games aired in HD WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Playing Mid-America Christian University is not new for ...

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Lions corral Bison, 89-76

Lions corral Bison, 89-76

Jan 03, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Rambo racks up 40, wins shootout with Woods Lions host front-running MACU on Saturday; game aired on SAGU TV Box Score, Play-by-Play, and Standings links below SHAWNEE, Oklahoma &...

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SAGU holds off OBU, 89-76; Rambo scores 40

Jan 02, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

SHAWNEE, Oklahoma  --  In the first league game for Southwestern Assemblies of God University, behind the explosive play of Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Chr CH, Ok Wesleyan Univ&...

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Lions open league season Thursday at OBU

Lions open league season Thursday at OBU

Jan 02, 2014 - Men's Basketball News

Watch the match-up to SAC's top two teams in Coaches' Poll Game Day Preview / Video Coverage  (click here) WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The start of the league season in th...

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SAGU holds off Patriots, 75-70, improve to 7-1

SAGU holds off Patriots, 75-70, improve to 7-1

Dec 17, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Walter erupts for career-best 30 points Bostwick also lauds play of Gentry, Gumwell Links Below:   Box Score, Photo Gallery from the game, Current Standings, Individual Player Sta...

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Lions close semester at home on Monday

Lions close semester at home on Monday

Dec 16, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Arlington Baptist (4-5) takes on No. 3 SAGU (6-1) Patriots' ability to limit outside shooters will be put to the test WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The first semester comes to an end...

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No. 3 Lions shake off rust in 74-49 triumph

No. 3 Lions shake off rust in 74-49 triumph

Dec 11, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

SAGU depth, defense wears down Tigers Feemster, Walter fuel offense; Mitchell blocks seven shots Box Score (at bottom of story) Current SAC Standings:   http://www.soonerathle...

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Lions rise to #3 in NAIA Coaches Poll

Lions rise to #3 in NAIA Coaches Poll

Dec 11, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

SAGU is tied with Pikeville College in third Columbia College (8-0), Georgetown College (9-1) are No. 1, No. 2 (Entire Poll posted below) WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The first...

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Bostwick talks about being picked #2 in the SAC

Bostwick talks about being picked #2 in the SAC

Dec 08, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Lions Head Coach discusses fans and home games SAGU begins conference season the first week in January WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The start of Southwestern Assemblies of God Universit...

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SAGU has local road game on Tuesday

Dec 08, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Catch the Lions, Lady Lions in S.E. Dallas Study Break for fans; SAGU has home game on Dec. 16 WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  While its finals week at Southwestern Assemblies of God Unive...

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SAC Coaches pick Lions to finish second

SAC Coaches pick Lions to finish second

Dec 05, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Oklahoma Baptist voted as the team beat SAGU hosts OBU on Jan. 4 in broadcast biggie WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The head coaches in the Sooner Athletic Conference picked Oklahoma Bapt...

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River Pilots steer past Lions, 84-75

River Pilots steer past Lions, 84-75

Nov 26, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

SAGU outscored 12-4 in final five minutes Conference season begin on Dec. 5 vs OKC Stars Box Score and Play By Play (links below) Next Coaches Top 25 Poll:  December 10 SH...

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No. 5 Lions take on #2 LSU-Shreveport tonight

No. 5 Lions take on #2 LSU-Shreveport tonight

Nov 25, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Fans can follow the game's play-by-play on-line Friendly rivals meet at 7pm on the Red River at The Dock SHREVEPORT, Louisiana  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God Universi...

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SAGU goes to 5-0, top Crusaders, 89-71

SAGU goes to 5-0, top Crusaders, 89-71

Nov 20, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Erskine pours in 23, Feemster has second double-double Next up for Lions; road trip to No. 2 LSU-Shreveport Current SAC Standings:   http://www.soonerathletic.org/sport/0/4.php ...

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Follow Lions roar tonight on Twitter

Follow Lions roar tonight on Twitter

Nov 19, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

SAGU teams play at 6pm/8pm in Richardson Games will be rematches from November 5th doubleheader WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s an...

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Lions cage Tigers, 82-67; whip 13 three-pointers

Lions cage Tigers, 82-67; whip 13 three-pointers

Nov 15, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

SAGU off to 4-0 start for third straight year Gentry, Guidry, Mills, Feemster reach double-digits Box Score (link below) SAC Standings:   http://www.soonerathletic.org/sport/0/4...

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SAGU entertains Paul Quinn tonight at 7:30pm

SAGU entertains Paul Quinn tonight at 7:30pm

Nov 14, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Men's hoopsters ranked No. 3 in NCCAA pre-season WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Ranked number 5 in the NAIA's Pre-Season Top 25 Coaches Poll, the Southwestern Assemblies of God Univer...

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Lions top No. 2 LSU-Shreveport, 83-72

Lions top No. 2 LSU-Shreveport, 83-72

Nov 12, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Erskine, defense propels No. 5 SAGU against Pilots O'Neill, Davis, Starks provide essential lift for Team Purp WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Sparked by a solid defensive effort, the ...

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#5 Lions host #2 LSU-Shreveport tonight at 7pm

#5 Lions host #2 LSU-Shreveport tonight at 7pm

Nov 12, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Teams almost met in last year's NAIA championship game Preview of Players to Watch WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Tonight’s clash between No. 2 ranked LSU-Shreveport and No. 5 r...

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SAGU tops McPherson in OT, 92-82

SAGU tops McPherson in OT, 92-82

Nov 11, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Gentry, Mills, Feemster lead Lions to 2-0 start On Deck: No. 2 ranked LSU-Shreveport on Tuesday Box Score  and SAC Standings (links below) WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Dem...

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Gentry's infectious, "all out" energy drives Lions

Gentry's infectious, "all out" energy drives Lions

Nov 07, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Wood-surfing typifies desire of senior leader NEXT: SAGU plays host to McPherson College, Sat., 5:00pm SAC Standings:  http://www.soonerathletic.org/sport/0/4.php  WAXAHACHIE...

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Snowstorm of threes lead Lions to 95-62 win

Nov 06, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

All ten players score, seven drain treys in SAGU debut Point Parade: Gentry 21, Mills 17, O'Neill 15, Feemster 13 WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  After a near-packed Sheaffer Center cr...

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Hoops season tips off to threat of snow

Hoops season tips off to threat of snow

Nov 05, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

SAGU is ranked #5 in NAIA Coaches Poll Lions play host to Dallas Christian on Tuesday night LiveStats link:   http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Webcasts.aspx?association=10 ...

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SAGU men's basketball roster announced

SAGU men's basketball roster announced

Nov 03, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Three starters will return, along with a deep cast Lions open the season at home on Tuesday at 8:00pm WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  In his first year as Head Coach at Southwestern Assemb...

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Men's Basketball adds two games

Oct 23, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

Lions to play home/away against Ecclesia College SAGU schedule now complete with 30 dates WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men's baske...

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Lions announce 28-game hoops itinerary

Lions announce 28-game hoops itinerary

Oct 03, 2013 - Men's Basketball News

SAGU schedule has early national match-up Final roster decisions forthcoming; three starters return WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’...

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