SAGU roars by Langston, face Rams at 6pm
Lions build 23-point lead, coast to 87-79 win
Ward leads 5 others in double-digits; Lions now 28-3
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The sheer determination of a unified team can lead to some impressive feats.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s men’s basketball team defeated an upstart Langston University team, 87-79, in the quarterfinals of the Red River Athletic Conference tournament on Friday.
The win advances the Lions to Saturday’s semi-finals and a 6:00pm encounter against Texas Wesleyan University. The Rams outlasted Our Lady of the Lake University, 101-92, on Friday night.
SAGU, now 28-3, used a 17-3 run early in the second half to quiet any thoughts of an upset by Langston. Ahead 44-38, a well-oiled Lions attack surged to a 61-41 lead in just over five minutes to seize complete control of the game.
Sophomore flyer Jon Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS) fueled the run with a three-ball on a pass from Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Connally HS). He had six of his game-high 18 points in the burst.
Walter contributed throughout the game on both ends of the court.
He was not alone. Four other players hit double-figures in a game in which SAGU made 47% of their shots and dominated the boards, 47-36.
Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / Parkview HS), the freshman defensive stopper, was an obvious force against Langston. He came off the bench with energy to lead the way with 11 boards.
The 6’5 forward added 14 points and knocked down all six of his shots, from mid-range jumpers to power layups.
Langston made an emphasis of trying to prevent Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Ok. Wesleyan Univ., Trinity Christian School) from driving lanes. Trouble was, the junior guard’s inner GPS system led to other routes.
Rambo took to passing and creating for teammates while playing his trademark defense. Those distribution avenues led to others scoring and, voila, less pressure on him.
After a slow start, Rambo finished with 17 points, including a pair of three-pointers, and was credited with four assists.
Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Ok. Wesleyan Univ., Hondo HS), Rambo’s backcourt sidekick, added 14 points, two triples and his customary trunk filled with hustle points.
Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS), a 6’5 forward whose big plays are as loud as the crack of doom, was nearly lost in the shuffle. Still, he joined Adoyi in registering a double-double.
Nwelue (like DWELL-way) netted 10 points (5-of-8 from the field) and ripped down 10 rebounds.
The visiting Lions, sporting navy and orange, came out like a house afire. They used three monster dunks by Joel Clarke for a 9-4 lead, and, in front of a near-packed Sheaffer Center crowd, stretched it to 16-8.
After Clarke got past Nwelue for the early jam-fest, the latter did not cower in response. He held his 6’10 counterpart to four more points and just five rebounds.
Team leader, Duce Ward, as is his M.O., settled things down by going to work. He began with a three-point play inside, and then assisted on a bucket by Walter.
Walter, who can be likened to the smoothness of Keith Wilkes, added a trifecta following a pass from Rambo, and the Lions had their first lead at 22-21.
Langston continued their solid play and held a small lead until SAGU kicked in with another run.
Walter and Adoyi both converted an offensive board into a layup and Rambo ripped the nets from downtown, thanks to a pass from James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy), for a 38-34 lead at the half.
Behind a pair of two-fisted Nwelue, one on a lob from Ward, SAGU led 84-61 with 4:30 to play. Head Coach Donnie Bostwick then emptied his bench.
Langston countered with a fullcourt press to produce some easy baskets (outscoring SAGU 18-3) and a misleading final score. SAGU's lead was not in jeopardy. A basket at the buzzer narrowed the margin to less than 10-points.
Saturday Semi-Final vs. Texas Wesleyan
The match-up with Texas Wesleyan will not be an easy one. The Rams (20-11) are developing chemistry under first year Head Coach Brennen Shingleton.
While the Lions are just 4-29 career against their rivals from Fort Worth, they did manage to take both meetings this season; 75-73 in Cowtown and 90-87 on a last-second Rambo three-pointer, on Feb. 2.
SAGU Sports Live will broadcast the game in HD. Former SAGU Sports Information Director Clay Scarborough joins Tim Roberts for the pre-game show at 5:45pm.
Viewers can access the free service at www.sagu.edu/tv.
The winner will play in Monday’s championship at 5:30pm.
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