SAGU Hoopsters: Going to Kansas City
NAIA Championship in sight for no. 6 Lions
Team departs from Waxahachie Monday morning
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- It was 1959 when Wilbert Harrison sang a pop classic about "Going to Kansas City." His reason for his destination wasn't basketball, but he was bent on getting there!
Monday morning, March 11, the men's basketball team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University will make their second trip to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Championship tournament in Kansas City, Missouri.
This is the first after securing an automatic berth after winning the Red River Athletic Conference. In 2006 the Lions made the trip after advancing to the RRAC tournament and were the #32 seed.
It got them an opening round date with the defending national champion, Mountain State University (27-3).
The Cougars topped the Lions, 84-64, despite Darius Howard and Julio Osorio both scoring 20 points.
Fans will enjoy a continental breakfast in the Sheaffer Center at 7:30am (Monday, March 11) prior to a special Send-Off and Prayer at 8:00am.
Terry Phipps and Jesse Godding will lead the ceremony for the team and fans. Phipps is the Vice President for Student Services; Godding is SAGU's Athletic Director.
Ellis County Sherriffs will escort the team bus out of town and onto northbound I-35.
The Lions will arrive Monday evening after completing the 585-mile trip. All 32-teams will play their first round game on either Wednesday or Thursday.
SAGU (29-4) is scheduled to face the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (17-9) at 9:00am at the 10,100 seat Municipal Auditorium.
Only one team in the NAIA has won more games than the Lions' 29; no. 1 ranked Columbia College (Mo) (33-0). SAGU played the Cougars two years ago in the Sheaffer Center, falling 76-62.
Joining the Lions in KC will be the men's teams from no. 20 ranked University of St. Thomas and no. 25 LSU-Shreveport.
LSUS (24-6) plays no. 8 University of Pikeville (Ky) (26-6) Wednesday night at 8:45pm, while UST (28-5) tangles with no. 13 Georgestown College (Ky) (23-8) on Thursday at 9:00am.
Fans can view the game via livestream (for a fee) or follow a digital version of the game's play-by-play, called a LiveStats webcast. For information on accessing the game or for purchasing tickets, visit www.naia.org
Second year Head Coach Donnie Bostwick and the coaching staff led the team through preparations for the tournament this past week.
One practice concluded a fun free throw competition that ended with Team Chaplain David Leatherberry settling the outcome with a pressure-packed foul shout. He was immediately surrounded by cheering players, who have grown attached to his active role with the team.
Another drill saw every player involved in a timed halfcourt shooting contest. The results were not made public, but its safe to say the team better not need one in KC.
Should SAGU get past the USAO "Drovers" on Wednesday, they'll play on Friday, also at 9:00am, against the winner between no. 11 ranked Westmont College (Cal) (25-7) and Martin Methodist College (Tenn) (20-10).
Two wins would move the Lions to Saturday's quarterfinals at 2:00pm.
The first 28 games (through the quarterfinals) will be video-streamed (see the link below) by NeuLion on www.naia.org. The semifinal round will air on ESPN3, while the championship final will be televised live nationally on CBS Sports Network.
SAGU will provide coverage beginning Monday night with multiple articles daily posted at www.sagu.edu/athletics. A preview of the game will be posted on Tuesday night.
The link to watch games via livestream is:
The cost depends on which option you choose.
NOTE: To view and/or purchase thousands of action photos by Steve Patterson of both the Lions and Lady Lions (and other SAGU teams), visit the Moving Pictures website.