Lions Come Up Short in Overtime, 71-68
SAGU skid reaches five straight
Ward has 16 boards; Allbritton scores 22 for Lions
DALLAS, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s basketball team lost a four-point lead in a 71-68 overtime defeat at the hands of Paul Quinn College on Thursday night.
First Half Overview
After battling back from an eight-point first half deficit (34-26), SAGU erupted during an 11-0 run. The Purple Pride knotted the score at 34-apiece when Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Waco HS, Univ of North Texas Univ) converted a three-point play, before Peter Dutton (Houston, Tx / Booker T. Washington HS) stroked a 3-ball to even the score.
Horne, who scored 12 of his 18 points before intermission, lifted the ‘Cats to a 39-36 advantage with a basket. The 6-foot-1 junior playmaker pumped in an eight-foot, buzzer-beating jumper to give SAGU a 39-36 lead at the half.
Second Half Summary
The remainder of the contest was physical as both teams contested every shot. Defenses ruled, and Paul Quinn’s superior height and big men enabled them to set the tempo. The Lions got a number of clutch baskets by Matt Allbritton (Plano, Tx / Geo. Washington Univ, Garland Christian) as the Red River Athletic Conference game remained as close as bark on a tree.
Sophomore forward, the 6’5 Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ of North Texas Univ, Connally HS), who continues to lead the nation in rebounding, was his usual blue-collar self. His 16 boards steadied the Lions even while the host Tigers were in charge of the glass, 59-45.
Paul Quinn took a 43-39 advantage. Allbritton drained a pair of treys and a power layup by Ward deadlocked the score at 53. The squads exchanged scores until the end of regulation, tied at 59.
After the teams combined for 75 points in the first half, they only had 43 in the second stanza.
Dutton launched a three-point field goal for SAGU’s largest lead, at four points in OT. But the Tigers countered by cashing in offensive boards and regained the upper hand at 67-63. Horne gunned a jumper to draw Team Purp to within two points. After a Tiger bucket, Allbritton’s fifth trey pulled SAGU to within one.
Paul Quinn, who won only six games last winter, responded with two quick scores and held on to lift their record to 8-5 overall. The Lions had a chance in the closing seconds but failed to connect on a pair of three-point tries.
SAGU’s ledger slipped to 3-7 following their fifth consecutive setback. They are now 1-4 in the RRAC. The Tigers are 3-2 and moved into fourth place in the 12-team league.
Allbritton led all scorers with 22 points. He was good on five of eight triples. His five boards was second best on the team to Ward’s 16. Horne ended with 18 points. He had three assists and three steals. Dutton tossed in eight points. Ward scored seven and was credited with a season-best five blocked shots.
Lions newcomer Gabriel Clark (Modesto, Cal / Modesto HS), a 6’8 center who recently transferred, came off the bench to grab four boards and swat a pair of shots. The Lions played without starting center Bosko Ognenovski (Bitola, Macedonia / State Fair CC), who was out with an injury. Nnamdi Agbaroji (Houston, Tx / Westbury HS) started in his place at forward.
Paul Quinn was led by forward Mitchell Thompson. He poured in 17 points and laid claim to 11 rebounds. Taj Givens added 14 points as well as bagging 11 boards. Vernon Lewis came off the bench to score 10 and rip down 14 rebounds in only 21 minutes. Point guard Eddren McCain, the national leader in helpers, had eight assists.
Southwestern shot 33% from the court, and popped 10-of-29 three balls (34%). The Lions, #1 ranked team in the NAIA in free throw shooting (77%), hurt themselves on the foul line, hitting just 14-of-22 (63%). Seventeen turnovers, 13 of them by the starters, were costly.
Paul Quinn made 39% from the court. They were 1-of-14 beyond the arc. The Tigers netted only 12-of-25 foul shots. Of their 59 rebounds, 24 were on the offensive end.
Lions face Steers Saturday in 4pm Matinee
Southwestern is back on the road on Saturday when they meet Texas College in Tyler. The game is set for a 4:00pm start. Texas College, 7-4, brings a six-game winning streak into the contest. It's a 90-mile trek east for the Lions. The Steers won at Jarvis Christian on Thursday, 74-71.
In the past three years the Lions have gone a thorny 0-3 in the Rose City, being outscored by an average of 86-60. The Steers won last winter's game by a 77-64 score. SAGU, however, won the rematch in Waxahachie, 80-69.
Their 5-0 conference record is tied with LSU-Shreveport (12-0, 5-0) and Texas Wesleyan (12-1, 5-0) atop the Red River. The Steers 22-5 a year ago, were third in the RRAC at 15-5.
Monday: Third Road Game in Five Days
Monday, Jan. 10, the Lions will in East Texas again when they take on Jarvis Christian College (5-9, 2-3). The match is set to begin with a 7:30pm jumpball in Hawkins. It is 97 miles northeast of Waxahachie. Hawkins is due north of Tyler.
Southwestern has won only once in their last three meetings at JCC. The Lions won there last year, 87-79. Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / Plano West HS) had big games there and in a home triumph over the Bulldogs as well.