Lions Suffer Low-tide Setback to Rams
Ronald Horne’s 37 luminous in loss
AUSTIN, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s men’s basketball team has enjoyed some high-water experiences this season. With big game hunters knocking down long range shots and power forwards jamming countless dunks, the Lions have entertained their fans. They have the Red River Athletic Conference’s leading scorer and leading rebounder.
Saturday night was not one of those times. In facing last place Huston-Tillotson University, who was winless at home this season, the Lions (8-17, 6-13 in RRAC) were shocked by an inspired Rams team, 92-89.
Tillotson (2-26, 2-17) began the season with 24 straight defeats before topping Langston University (2-21, 2-16 RRAC) 82-76 a week ago. The stunner over SAGU gave them a 2-2 mark over a nine-day period as they’re proving there is still much to play for down the stretch.
Fighting for Post-Season Life
The Lions, desperate to qualify for the RRAC tournament, slid into a virtual tie for ninth place with Bacone College (10-15, 5-13). Both SAGU and the Warriors are hunting to catch University of the Southwest (12-14, 7-12) for the eighth spot in the standings and post-season life.
Should the Lions tie with USW, they would win the tie-breaker having swept the season series from the Mustangs. SAGU also defeated Bacone last month, 100-92. They finish the regular season in Muskogee, Oklahoma against the Tribe in a game that could decide the fate of all three squads.
Southwestern hopes to avoid their finish of 2010. Last year they were in a four-way tie at 8-8 with four games left in the regular season. They went 0-4 with three, single-digit losses. However, they still clinched a spot in the RRAC tournament. The 2011 campaign has them playing their final four games on the road. They have three to go, starting Monday night in San Antonio.
Road Record Adds to the Challenge
The odds are not favoring the Lions, who have a 1-8 road record this season, including a 1-7 mark against the RRAC field. Their lone triumph away from Waxahachie came in Hobbs, New Mexico when they topped the University of the Southwest Mustangs. Their work is cut out for them, but their fate is still in their hands.
Monday Night Point-fest: SAGU vs OLLU
The Lions will take on high-powered Our Lady of the Lake (16-10, 12-7), winners of three straight. They average over 88 points per outing. The Saints lead the league in three pointers made per game at 8.2. SAGU is second at 8.1. A year ago OLLU won both meetings, 112-107 and 104-95 on their home floor, the Mabee Center. Think there’ll be some offense? More than ‘maybe.’
SAGU finishes the season in Oklahoma on Saturday, February 26 vs. Langston, and Feb. 28 against Bacone.
Reviewing Saturday's Numbers
Before a sparse crowd of 147 in the Mary E. Branch Gymnasium, SAGU fell behind early and trailed at the break, 49-31. The Rams made 47% of their shots (15-of-32) and added 17-of-24 free throws as they charged out of the gate.
The Lions recovered and stormed back, a sign this team doesn’t roll over. In the final twenty minutes they had plenty of offense, pouring in 58 points on 49% (18-of-37) shooting. But the defense yielded 45% accuracy to the win-starved Rams, who made 20-of-24 foul shots in the second half.
At one point the Lions trailed the red-hot Rams, 40-16, but rallied to within three at the end of the game. On the final possession of the contest the Lions' Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ of North Texas, Waco HS) attempted a game-tying trey with a couple of seconds to play. It circled, then rimmed out.
The 92 points were a season-high for the hungry Rams, who had averaged 73 coming into the game.
Critical areas that spelled the difference were a 37-27 margin on the boards for Tillotson. The Rams were able to win despite making 37 turnovers, while still squeezing 26 giveaways from SAGU. The number of turnovers the Lions had made scoring 89 points a real feat, especially considering they had only one assist.
The Purple Pride sorely missed the presence of Gabriel Clark (Modesto, Ca / Modesto HS), who had averaged 10 rebounds and four blocked shots per game since transferring in January. He is now out for the season. The lack of depth was realized when whistle-happy officials cited the visitors for 36 fouls that disqualified four players on five fouls, while two others were saddled with four.
Tillotson capitalized by stroking 37-of-48 free throws. Their 77% showing on the charity stripe was ten percent above their season norm, and their number of FT’s attempted was well over their average of 25.
Finishing in the Black
The Rams started four guards, with three of them reaching double figures, including James Black, who netted 31. He made eight of fifteen shots, including three triples. Black knocked down 12-of-17 foul shots.
Live Music Capital has Hot Horne
Southwestern caught fire after intermission and made a game of it before coming up short.
In the city known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” SAGU's junior guard Ronald Horne was a virtual trumpet, leading all scorers with a game-high 37 points. He connected on 12-of-25 from the field, made four trifectas and all nine of his free throw attempts. Horne has eclipsed the 30-point barrier six times this season. In nine other games he’s produced 20 or more points. On Saturday he also made seven steals on defense.
Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / West Plano HS) and Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Connally HS) both bucketed 15 points and fouled out. Gibson swished a trio of threes while Ward was credited with eight boards. Da’Tron Harris (Waco, Tx / Waco HS), who started at point guard, and Peter Dutton (Houston, Tx / Booker T. Washington HS), a 6’4 guard, both picked up five fouls trying to slow down the high-octane Rams.
Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS) came off the bench to score 10 points in under six minutes while sophomore Bosko Ognenovski (Bitola, Macedonia / State Fair Comm. College) grabbed six caroms.
Viewing Monday’s Game in San Antonio
Our Lady of the Lake University is the only other school who currently broadcasts their games on the internet. Here's the scoop.
They usually start about 10 minutes prior to the opening tip. Mike Thompson, the voice of the Saints, does a pre-interview with the coach; Russell Vanlandingham. OLLU Sports Information Director, Patty Constantin, does an outstanding job promoting athletics and has played a critical role in keeping their livestreaming efforts current.
They will also be making the play-by-play written accounts of the game available on LIVESTATS. Access this through their website. On the home page at OLLU, click on the left column for Athletics. Then click on Women's Basketball. Their home page's central column has a variety of items about the team. Locate NAIA Stats (Live Stats) and click. The page that opens will show their entire schedule. Scroll down to Monday's game and click on the blue (((W))) on the right. Voila!
Thousand Point Club
Ronald Horne joined a select few players in the history of Southwestern basketball by passing the 1,000 point level in his career in Waxahachie. The junior tossed in 492 points last season and has already totaled 581 through 25 games this season. The prolific point-producer has 1,073 to date.