Steers Hand Lions 82-55 Setback
Gibson's long-range artillery was the offensive bright spot
TYLER, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University's men's basketball team came up on the short end of an 82-55 decision against Texas College on Saturday evening. The triumph was the seventh in a row for the Steers, who remain tied atop the Red River Athletic Conference.
Texas College is 8-4 overall and 6-0 in the RRAC. The Lions slid to 3-8 and 1-5 in the conference. The Steers entered the week 9th in the league in points per game (72.6), and yielded more (74.1) than they scored. The 55 points they surrendered to the Lions was the best of the season for TC.
Saturday, the Steers, after a slow beginning, found their groove. They attacked the basket on both offense and pressured the SAGU backcourt into an off-night.
Hot Hand: "They Went to Jared!"
Southwestern appeared to be able to weather the energy of the Steers in the early stages. Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / West Plano HS) must've worn asbestos gloves! He launched a long distance three-pointer to give SAGU an early 5-2 lead. It was a prelude of what was the come.
His second knotted things at 8-all. It was from even further away. The 6-foot-3 junior guard was three-for-three when he lifted yet another trifecta from nearly 30 feet out. Bosko Ognenovski (Bitola, Macedonia / State Fair CC) came off the bench and scored three quick points, one after a feed from point guard Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ of North Texas, Waco HS).
A minute later Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ of North Texas, Connally HS) made a steal at midcourt and spotted Gibson. With Marquet Norfleet, the Head Coach at Texas College alerting defenders to his whereabouts. Too late.
Gibson took the pass in one of his sweet spots, turned, and unloaded a fourth consecutive rainbow. Propelled by a hot shooter's mojo, the ball touched nothing but net. The Lions were up, 17-13, with 8:22 remaining in the half.
Texas College quickly regrouped. Bryant Leach stroked a 3-ball to jump start what would become the defining moments of the game. The Steers also benefitted from a number of highly questionable calls, which they capitalized on by converting free throws. Kyle Terrell gave them a great lift too. He entered the game and made two quick baskets, one on a dipsy-do drive and scoop shot.
A pair of FT's by Leach and a power drive down the baseline by LaDarren Williams gave the Steers a 30-18 advantage. Williams, a 6'8 junior who leads the nation in blocked shots, is one of ten players on Texas College who are 6-foot-4 or taller. And they were playing big.
Texas College's Strategy to Cage the Lions
"We were concerned about a letdown after our emotional win (74-71) at Jarvis on Thursday," Coach Norfleet said afterwards. "We were sluggish early, but we finally got it going. It was a total team effort," he continued. Eleven players would score in the game, and four reached double figures.
"Our focus coming in was to defend their three best shooters; number 2 (Gibson), number 21 (Matt Allbritton) and number 3 (Horne). Except for Gibson at the start, we had success against them."
Gibson finished with a team-high 12 points. Horne netted 10 and Allbritton had just two in very limited playing time. He poured in 22 on Thursday against Paul Quinn College.
First Half Summary
The Steers built a 39-24 lead at recess. SAGU made 33% of their shots, with 11 of their 21 tries coming from beyond the arc. Playing in what some call the toughest place in the conference to win, the Lions hurt themselves by missing 7-of-13 foul shots. As the NAIA's best free throw shooting team (.775), they had their first poor outing. The squad hit only 9-of-19 after the half.
Southwestern made a run to begin the second stanza. Piecing together a steady rally was a big challenge in the Gus F. Taylor Gymnasium, a facility some say is the second oldest gym in America.
Second Half Recap
Horne scored after beating a defender with a great move in the paint. Allbritton drove the baseline on a backdoor play, took a perfect entry pass from Gibson, and scored a layup at the 16:50 mark.
Running over 6-foot-4 Marshall Taylor for a basket – with Taylor being whistled for a foul, Horne converted the "and one" to cap a three-point play the old fashioned way. Ward responded by making a sensational play. He crashed the offensive boards, grabbed a carom with both hands, and stuffed it through the cylinder for an energetic jam. SAGU was within 44-33.
Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS) made a three-point play on an explosive drive, and then swished an underhanded layup thanks to a Gibson assist. On their next trip downcourt, Gibson sent a pass to Horne, who drained a trey from the baseline corner.
The Lions had reduced their debt from 16 to eight points, trailing 49-41, with 12:26 remaining. The 17-10 surge ran out of gas and offense. Much of the credit for taming the 'Cats attack was an aggressive Steers defense.
They squeezed 24 turnovers out of Southwestern, 15 of them in the second half, and 19 were committed by guards. Normally the dependable part of the Purple Pride, the SAGU backcourt didn't match-up well with the Steers. The battle for the boards was a toss-up. The addition of Gabriel Clark (Modesto, Ca / Modesto HS), plus 11 rebounds by Ward, the Lions virtually equaled the Steers, 45-44, in rebounds.
End Game controlled by Texas College's "Kobe" Bias
Enter: Jacobie Bias, a 6'4 senior from Beaumont, Texas. He is reportedly the best mid-range shooter in the Red River according to a sportswriter Harold Wilson of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, who has covered the RRAC for ten years.
Bias sank a pair from the charity stripe, and added several other buckets the rest of the way. When he broke-away for a dunk with 4:51 left, the Steers were cruising with a 70-46 lead. He had one score when he zoomed by his defender for an easy layup.
The Lions' Peter Dutton (Houston, Tx / Booker T. Washington HS) fired a fade-away jumper with nine minutes to go, but the deficit and momentum were too much to overcome.
Gibson led Southwestern in scoring with 12 points. Horne contributed 10, and Gabe Clark (Modesto, Ca / Modesto HS), a 6'8 transfer, registered 8 points and 10 rebounds.
Bias led all scorers with 19 points. He was good on eight of 17 field goal attempts. Terrell, a backup point guard, made six of seven shots for 13 points. Williams and Phillip Brooks both accounted for 10 points apiece, with the latter getting his in the closing minutes. Williams had 15 boards and three blocked shots.
On Tap for SAGU: At Jarvis Christian, Monday
The Lions will play their third road game in five days on Monday, January 10, when they tangle with Jarvis Christian College (6-9, 3-3). The 7:30pm tipoff will be played on the JCC campus in Hawkins, Texas, which is just north of Tyler. The Bulldogs hosted and defeated Paul Quinn on Saturday, 78-53.
SAGU-JCC SERIES: Southwestern swept both games last season; 87-79 at Jarvis and 82-73 at SAGU. The Bulldogs had won eight games in succession prior to 2010. They lead the series since 2003, 8-4.
The top returning scorers for the Purple Pride (in the two games vs. Jarvis in 2010) were Gibson, Horne and Allbritton, who averaged 19.5, 16.5 and 12.0 points per game respectively.
Next Home Game, Saturday, Jan. 15
The Lions return home on Saturday, Jan. 15, when they play host to Huston-Tillotson University. The game will be broadcast in high definition by video streaming by SAGU Sports Live. Details will be announced this week on this website. There is no fee for accessing the games (Lady Lions at 5:30pm, Lions at 7:30pm).
Current RRAC Standings
|TEAM||LOCATION||RRAC RECORD||OVERALL RECORD||STREAK|
|Texas Wesleyan||Ft Worth, TX||6-0||13-1||W2|
|Texas College||Tyler, TX||6-0||8-4||W7|
|Our Lady of the Lake||San Antonio, TX||4-2||8-5||W3|
|Paul Quinn College||Dallas, TX||3-3||8-6||L1|
|Wiley College||Marshall, TX||3-3||7-8||L3|
|Jarvis Christian||Hawkins, TX||3-3||6-9||W1|
|Bacone College||Muskogee, OK||2-4||7-6||L1|
|Univ of the Southwest||Hobbs, NM||1-5||6-7||L2|
|Langston University||Langston, OK||0-5||0-10||L10|
Teams are listed in the same order as they are posted on the Red River Athletic Conference website at www.RedRiverConference.com.