Hoops: Paul Quinn Wins on Last-gasp Blast
Lions Fall on Three-Pointer with 0:01.7 to play
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University dropped a thriller on Thursday night at the Sheaffer Full Life Center. Eddren McCain, the national leader in assists, stroked a three-point basket with one second to play to lift Paul Quinn College to an 88-85 win over the Lions.
Southwestern, now 6-11 overall and 4-8 in the Red River Athletic Conference, had fallen behind by 15-points (5:59 left in the first half), mainly due to being dominated on the boards. They were playing without Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ of North Texas, Connally HS), who leads the NAIA in rebounds. Due to a death in his immediate family, he was out of town and unable to play. He was sorely missed. Earlier in the season, in a 71-68 setback to Paul Quinn, he had 16 rebounds.
SAGU co-captain Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ of North Texas, Waco HS) poured in 39-points to lead a stirring comeback. His pair of free throws with 0:26 to play knotted the score at 85-85, setting the stage for the visiting Tigers. It was his second straight offensive explosion. He filled it up on Monday, scoring 40 as the Lions defeated Bacone College, 100-92.
Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS) and Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / West Plano HS) netted 12 and 11 points respectively for the guard-driven Lions. The team's top two inside men, Gabriel Clark (Modesto, Ca / Modesto HS) and Bosko Ognenovski (Bitola, Macedonia / State Fair Community College), fouled out in just over twenty minutes of play.
Clark had six points, five boards and two blocks. He fouled out in the final minute. Vernon Lewis (8 pts, 10 boards) drove the lane, soaring for a tomahawk slam attempt with an 84-83 lead when Clark stepped to prevent the dunk. Lewis split a pair of free throws for a two-point margin with 0:36 to play.
Head Coach Jerry Boone called a time-out to set-up a play to tie the game. He inserted Ryan Russ (Cordell, Ok / Cordell HS), a solid player in the post and effective screener. As he established a pic for Horne, Edwin Opoku was called for reaching in.
Stage set for Spotlight Climax
Horne swished a pair of pressure-packed foul shots for an 85-all deadlock.
That set the table for a thrilling finish. McClain, who is not known as a high percentage shooter (29% beyond the arc), dribbled to his right. Looking for Thompson, who had posted up on the low block, McClain was forced to shoot as Grigsby positioned himself to deny a pass inside. As the clock approached the clocking buzzer, McClain launched his team-leading 26th trey to spoil the night for the host Lions.
"He was looking for Thompson inside," said Paul Quinn coach, Marco Borne. "If he couldn't find him, he was to shoot. And he did. Close games are when you want your stars to shine."
As for the Lions previous play, Borne said he didn't want his players to foul him. "Down the stretch we wanted anyone but Horne to shoot." The 'Borne' again Tigers are easily the most-improved team in the lague this season. They were 6-22 last year.
According to Assistant Coach Hellion Knight, the team brought in a host of new players, and meshed them with two returners. "Plus, we play very aggressively on defense." They are the second-rated team (behind Texas Wesleyan) in the league in both rebounding and scoring defense (68.5 ppg yield).
Player and Team Stats
The Lions used seven three-pointers in the second half in staging their comeback. Horne connected on 6-of-12 during the game, though Gibson hit back-to-back trifectas to spark a late surge. Peter Dutton (Houston, Tx / Booker T. Washington HS) fired in a pair of treys. Dutton scored nine points.
Paul Quinn, a small NAIA Division I school from southeast Dallas, is now 14-6 and 9-3. It was their tenth win in eleven games. They were paced by Mitchell Thompson's 23 points. Edwin Opoku contributed 19. They outrebounded the host Lions by a 44-26 count.
Southwestern shot 48% from the field (27-of-59), the same as Paul Quinn (30-of-63). Both teams made 11 threes. SAGU connected on 20-of-24 free throws to the Tigers' 17-of-23. The Lions forced Quinn into 20 turnovers while making just 15 themselves.
Lions in New Mexico on Saturday
SAGU will play the University of the Southwest in a Saturday matinee in Hobbs, New Mexico. Tipoff against the Mustangs (8-11, 3-9 Red River) is set for 4:00pm MST. The Lions won their first meeting, 99-89. Tied with Bacone in eighth place, the game is critically important for SAGU.
Monday's Game vs. Texas Wesleyan
The Lions next home game will be on Monday, January 31, against rival Texas Wesleyan University (18-2, 11-1). The 7:30pm game will be broadcast nationally by the NAIA and will be available on-line at www.SAGU.edu by clicking SAGU TV.
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