Take Five: With Ronald Horne
SAGU's Horne is new National Scoring Leader
Lions face must-win in Langston on Saturday night
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University has boasted the nation's #1 rebounder the entire season in sophomore Nathaniel Duce Ward. With 71 points in his last two games, the Lions' Ronald Horne moved into the top spot alongside Ward as the NAIA's scoring leader.
Ward is averaging 12.0 rebounds per game, while Horne is tops in the country in producing points with a 23.6 ppg average. The longtime friends who are both from Waco, Texas, will lead the Purple Pride tonight in Oklahoma when SAGU (8-18 in all games, 6-14 in RRAC) meets Langston University (2-23, 2-18 RRAC) at 7:30pm in the C.F. Gayles Fieldhouse.
The Lady Lions (19-9, 14-6 RRAC) are facing the Langston Lady Lions (23-5, 18-2 RRAC) at 5:30pm. Southwestern is the only team in the league to beat Langston in Oklahoma in almost five years, doing it last year.
If the Lions are to qualify for the Red River Athletic Conference tournament next week, they must defeat Langston, then Bacone College (11-16, 6-14 RRAC) on Monday night in Muskogee, Oklahoma. SAGU is tied with the Warriors for ninth, two games behind the University of the Southwest (13-14, 8-12 RRAC).
Only the top eight teams receive an invitation into the RRAC tourney, March 3-5, hosted in Waxahachie.
Plus, SAGU must have the USW Mustangs drop both of their final two games on the road; Saturday at Texas College (17-9, 16-4 RRAC) at 4:00pm, and Monday at Jarvis Christian (12-17, 9-11 RRAC) at 7:30pm. If the Hobbs Squad goes 0-2 and the Lions can sweep their pair north of the Red River, SAGU will finish tied in eighth with USW. The Lions own the tie-breaker based on winning both times the teams met this season.
The NAIA and the Victory Sports Network will produce a LIVE program on the internet on March 2 and 9 to announce the brackets. Details will be listed here on Monday.
Horne sat down on Friday for a TAKE FIVE interview. Here is what he had to say.
Q: The Lions are fighting for a berth in the RRAC Tournament. How important is this to you and the team?
RH: It is very important to our team and me. One of our team goals was to reach the NAIA National tournament and the only way we will be able to get there is by making the RRAC tourney.
Q: How often is qualifying for the tournament talked about amongst the players?
RH: "Making it" is the only thing we talk about amongst us. It's held at our house, and it would be very disappointing to be going to class next week knowing other teams get to play on our home floor.
Q: The Lions need to win their final two games and then have help from other teams to qualify. What needs to happen for Southwestern to earn a spot in the Red River?
RH: We have to worry only about what we can control. Our main focus now is taking it one game at a time and trying not to look ahead.
Q: What are the areas the team has struggled in this season?
RH: We struggled inside this year. I don't know the actual statistics but most of the time we have a hard time either defending the opposing bigs (big men) or just trying to keep them off the glass. With all the changes and adversity the team has been going through, it's good to know we still have a chance. We are going to try to take advantage of the opportunity.
Q: Both you and Duce Ward are tops in the country in scoring and rebounding. What does that mean to you as the season winds down?
RH: Its okay from an individual standpoint, but winning is what's most important to me. If being the leading scorer is what it takes (for us to win) then that's what has to be done. I do think it's pretty cool that two of the country's top leaders are on the same team. Southwestern!
BONUS Q: What is your reaction to fans that place their pinkie finger from each fist on top of their heads to form horns? Who started this?
RH: I like the sign! It was definitely a first. I'm giving the credit to a classmate and my homeboy Jordan Knight and his buds.
HORNE SIDE NOTES
Favorite NBA Player: Right now it's Dwayne Wade. My all-time fave has to be Michael Jordan.
Player You Pattern Your Game After: I try to be a diverse player. That way it's tougher to guard me. I mimic my style of play from Allen Iverson, and then try to add a little Lebron James/D. Wade combo from an aggressive standpoint. Overall, I want to learn to better master the game like Kobe (Bryant).
Favorite Sit-Down restaurant in Town: My favorite sit down place in Waxahachie has to be Waffle House!
Favorite Fast Food place in Town: Favorite fast food place is Chicken Express!
What do you think of those L-O-N-G threes by Jared Gibson? I think they're going in every time!
The NAIA's Current Top Ten Scorers
|Horne, Ronald / SAGU (8-18)||26||173||78||191||615||23.65|
|Berry, Ricky / Simon Fraser Univ (3-20)||23||177||79||108||541||23.52|
|Richey, Fayzon / St. Gregory's Univ (5-20)||25||193||75||115||576||23.04|
|Brock, Ryan / Loyola Univ (14-12)||21||169||10||132||480||22.86|
|Harvis, Kerry / Talladega College (12-15)||28||197||81||141||616||22.00|
|Dowd, Rustin / MidAmerica Naz Univ (13-16)||26||177||50||158||562||21.62|
|Brown, Justin / Simon Faser Univ (3-20)||21||138||36||133||445||21.19|
|Harvey, Kyle / Williams Baptist (10-16)||26||212||10||112||546||21.00|
|Evans, Demetrius / Univ of Southwest (13-14)||26||180||6||172||538||20.69|
|Brown, Brandon / Univ of Montant Western (21-7)||27||195||48||103||541||20.04|
|Key: GP - Games Played, FG - Total Field Goals, 3s - Three Point Baskets, FTM - Free Throws Made, PTS - Points Scored, PPG - Points Per Game Average|