Power Points: Lions Fall to Pilots, 112-88
Ward's 18 points, 23 rebounds not enough for SAGU
SHREVEPORT, Louisiana -- The #3 ranked team in the nation, Louisiana State University at Shreveport, looked like it on Monday night. They routed Southwestern Assemblies of God University, 112-88, on their home court, The Dock. Eclipsing the century mark for the seventh time this season, the Pilots improved their record to 22-1 overall and 15-1 in the Red River Athletic Conference.
Southwestern (7-14, 5-11 in RRAC) received an outstanding performance by sophomore Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Connally HS). The 6-foot-5 forward scored 18 points and ripped down 23 rebounds, 14 coming in the first half. Ward began the season by reaching double figures in the first 14 games he played. He had averaged seven per game during his last three outings before busting loose last night.
In a game when the host Pilots rolled from the opening tip, the play of Ward was a bright spot for the Lions. The purple-clad 'Cats dropped their third consecutive game and fourth in five to fall into ninth place in the league standings. Their defense has surrendered almost 94 points per game in the last six games, making things more difficult for the league's #5 ranked offense.
That offense is led by their playmaker, Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ of North Texas, Waco HS). He led the team scoring with 20 points. He added three assists before fouling out in 32 minutes. He drilled two threes and made a lone turnover in a game that saw the Lions make only 13.
Final Homestand Coming
SAGU has seven games remaining, including six conference matches. They have two home games left against RRAC opponents; Texas College (12-8, 11-3 in RRAC) on Saturday night, and Jarvis Christian College (10-13, 7-7) on Valentine's night.
The last home game of the 2010-11 campaign will be on February 17 when Houston's University of St. Thomas comes to town. The Celts (pronounced Kelts) are currently 9-10.
Davenport: Oh What a Night!
The Pilots came out firing. Sophomore guard Brance Davenport, one of four players averaging between 15-18 points per game, lit up the night's sky. He canned his first two shots, both three-pointers, for starters. He had 15 by the half and was just getting warmed up.
The team's #4 scorer torched the Lions with a 50-point game that saw him connect on 18-of-27 shots, including five triples and 9-of-13 free throws. And he sat out ten minutes of the game.
During a second half in which both teams scored over 60 points, he was good on 13-of-16 tries for 35 points. His previous high was 24 before Monday.
Corey Bingham and Eric Young, also guards, poured in 16 points apiece, combining to make 11-of-20 shots.
They are a backcourt that doesn't take a backseat to anyone. The three River Runners average a combined 49 ppg. On Monday they united to fill it up to the tune of 82.
Derrick Parker, their talented forward, was held to 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting. The 6-foot-6 junior still grabbed 19 boards and blocked six shots. Young blocked four as the Pilots rejected 12 on the night.
Coach Chad McDowell was preparing for his Monday night showdown in Fort Worth against #5 ranked Texas Wesleyan (21-2, 14-1), LSUS made 53% of their field goal attempts while holding the Lions to 30%. Their lone dark cloud on Monday was missing 17 free throws (28 of 45). SAGU was 31-of-43 on the charity stripe.
First Half Summary
The Pilots vaulted ahead 8-0 on three scores by Davenport. They never looked back. It was 14-2 before SAGU made a basket, a score in the paint by the RRAC's top scorer - Horne, 5:30 into the game. The team missed their first 12 shots and committed four turnovers before Horne's bucket. By the time Davenport hit his third trifecta of the half (8:28), their advantage had swollen to 35-9.
Ward detonated a 3-bomb to reduce the deficit to 37-16 (4:55), but Young stole the ball and went the distance to reclaim the 26-point margin, 44-18. Power layups by Ward and Gabe Clark (Modesto, Ca / Modesto HS), and foul shots by Horne and Glorie Ndongala (Kinsasha, Congo / Northglenn HS) closed the half with SAGU trailing 49-27.
Second Half Rewind
Southwestern's play in the second half was improved, as the offense began to click. They were fueled by one of their best rebounding efforts of the season, claiming 55 during Monday's point-fest.
Coach Jerry Boone's motion offense produced four players in double digits in the second frame alone. Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS) led the way with 13, much of it coming on the free throw line (7-of-9). Ward and guards Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx / West Plano HS) and Horne all had 10 points after intermission, combining to hit on nine of thirty shots against a defense geared to stop them.
Twelve players got into the action, including James Southerland (Macomb, Ill / Macomb HS), who returned after missing over three weeks with a high ankle sprain.
Ndongala played 17 minutes to lead the team after recess. The 5'6 whirling dervish assisted a fastbreak basket by Horne and the Lions were within 51-29. An offensive board by Bosko Ognenovski (Bitola, Macedonia / State Fair Community College) led to a long-distance, rainmaking triple by Gibson kept the margin at 24 (56-32).
The Brazos River tandem of Horne and Ward hooked up on a pass and score, with the latter finishing with a tally in the paint at the 16:24 mark. LSUS led 60-34.
Nnamdi Agbaroji (Houston, Tx / Westbury HS) came off the bench and gave the team a solid lift. He scored five points and reeled in five rebounds in nine minutes. He also made a steal and blocked a shot. He hit a pull-up jumper in the lane (66-38) before Ndongala (DOAN-gah-la) assisted a trey by Horne as the Lions were trading baskets with the Pilots.
Ward added four points on FT's and a transition hoop, thanks to a pass from Horne. Then following an offensive board by Gibson, Agbaroji (AGG-bar-O-jee) parlayed a second offensive carom on the same possession into a basket. SAGU had chopped their debt to 19 (71-52) with 12:24 remaining. They would come no closer.
Davenport stroked a three to cap a 15-5 run to give the Pilots their largest lead, 101-71, with 3:10 to go.
Southwestern ended the game by outscoring LSUS, 17-11. Grigsby got 10 of those points, highlighted by a 3-point play with a coast-to-coast, transition streak. Agbaroji made a free throw and Peter Dutton (Houston, Tx / Booker T. Washington HS) got into the fray with a pair of shots from downtown on Grigsby and Da'Tron Harris (Waco, Tx / Waco HS) passes. Harris had four points and a pair of helpers.
Next to Ward, the Lions two big men; Clark and Ognenovski, were saddled with foul trouble. Neither lasted more than 19 minutes, combining for nine fouls. Clark had six points, five boards and two blocks, while Bosko had three points and a dozen rebounds – ten of them offensive.
Current Standings in the RRAC
Team Location Record in RRAC Overall Record Against SAGU
LSU-Shreveport Shreveport, La 15-1 22-1 2-0
Texas Wesleyan Fort Worth, Tx 14-1 21-2 2-0
Texas College* Tyler, Tx 11-3 12-8 1-0
Paul Quinn College Dallas, Tx 9-5 14-8 2-0
Our Lady of the Lake* San Antonio, Tx 9-7 13-10 1-0
Wiley College Marshall, Tx 8-7 12-11 2-0
Jarvis Christian College* Hawkins, Tx 7-7 10-13 1-0
Univ of the Southwest Hobbs, NM 5-10 10-12 0-2
SW Assemblies Waxahachie, Tx 5-11 7-14 --
Bacone College* Muskogee, Ok 4-10 9-12 0-1
Langston Univ* Langston, Ok 2-12 2-17 0-1
Huston-Tillotson* Austin, Tx 0-15 0-24 0-1
*Teams the SAGU Lions have to play once more