Some Like it Hot: Lions Top Mustangs 98-91
Horne leads torrid attack, team wins again
HOBBS, New Mexico -- Cam Newton. Pico de Gallo. Justin Beiber. Purplesaurus Rex Kool-Aid. Verizon's iPhone. Progressive Insurance fictional cashier – Flo. If the subject is: Who's Hot? on the game show, Jeopardy, the question would be: Who is Ronald Horne?
The 6-foot-1 native of Waco, Texas, guarded well by the University of the Southwest, managed only ten shots. But he converted five of them, including three triples and swished five of six free throws. The #3 scorer in the nation netted 18 points. But it was what he did otherwise that drew the most praise.
Horne guarded the Mustangs' top player in a game-long version of full-court, high speed bumper cars. And the cars were velcroed together. He also made three steals, ripped down 10 rebounds, and distributed the ball to the tune of eight assists – all without a single turnover.
And, oh, yeah... the Lions rolled to their fourth win in six tries with an impressive, 98-91 road triumph. He averaged over 32 points per game in leading SAGU to a 2-1 week and is a candidate for NAIA Player of the Week.
Lions shoot 68% in decisive second half
He wasn't the only thing hot in a Lions uniform. After playing to a 45-45 halftime tie, SAGU kicked their game into smoking hot in the second half. The club made a torrid 68% of their shots (17 of 25), as well as 15 of 17 free throws. Southwestern finished at 57% from the field.
The Lions, now 7-11 overall, and 5-8 in the Red River Athletic Conference. Coupled with Bacone College's (9-11, 4-9 RRAC) 88-56 loss at LSU-Shreveport (18-1, 11-1), Southwestern moved into sole possession of eighth place in the league. That is significant in that only the top eight qualify for the RRAC Tournament.
Who turned up the heat?
SAGU has now scored 90+ five times and their 78.1 points per game average is fifth best in the 12-team Red River. Coach Jerry Boone's team averages 8.5 three-pointers per game, which leads the RRAC, as does the team's .735 free throw percentage.
One major component is the improvement the team has made in rebounding. The Lions were last in rebounds when the team returned from the holiday break. They have moved up to #9. The elevated play of the team's interior defenders, in boarding and blocking shots (#2 in the RRAC) is reflected in the team's improvement in controlling opposing shooters. SAGU is now #5 in the league in field goal percentage defense, allowing just 42% of shots to find their way through the cylinder.
Coraling the Mustangs on the Boards
On Saturday against the Hobbs Squad, the Lions limited the Mustangs to 42% in the second half and 46% for the game. The club enjoyed their most dominating game on the boards where they held a whopping 44-31 advantage. And that was without Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ of North Texas, Connally HS), the NAIA's leader in rebounds. It was his third missed game since the passing of his father, Nathaniel, 47, last week. His name Duce, is a family moniker for #2, or deuce, rather than Junior. He will return to campus on Monday.
SAGU was led in scoring by Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / West Plano HS) and Peter Dutton (Houston, Tx / Booker T. Washington HS), who each bucketed 20 points. Gibson burned the nets for six triples, with Dutton adding two more. Horne added 18 points and Gabriel Clark (Modesto, Ca / Modesto HS) tossed in 14.
It was another outstanding performance for Clark. Besides making five of eight shots, he stroked all four free throws and yanked down a season-best 16 boards. He was also credited for two blocked shots and three assists. Bosko Ognenovski (Bitola, Macedonia / State Fair Community College) fouled out after limited minutes, making the team's effort on the boards even more impressive.
Key contributors were sophomore forward Nnamdi Agbaroji (Houston, Tx / Westbury HS) and freshman guard Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS). The former hit all four of his shots in a 9-point night, while the latter scored eight and totaled four assists.
Southwest was led by forward Demetrius Evans' 20 points. The Pony Express delivered the mail on offense with six players reaching double figures. They took excellent care of the ball, making only eleven turnovers. They hurt themselves by making only 20 of 30 free throws.
Big Monday in the FLC
SAGU returns to the Sheaffer Full Life Center on Monday, January 31, to face the RRAC's top team, Texas Wesleyan University (19-2, 12-1), at 7:30pm. The game will be streamed live on SAGU SPORTS Live and carried on the Victory Sports Network, which handles the NAIA's video streaming broadcasts.