SAGU holds off Patriots, 75-70, improve to 7-1
Walter erupts for career-best 30 points
Bostwick also lauds play of Gentry, Gumwell
Links Below: Box Score, Photo Gallery from the game, Current Standings, Individual Player Stats
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- No. 3 Southwestern Assemblies of God University used a 9-0 run to build an 11-point lead and staved off Arlington Baptist College, 75-70, on Monday night at the Sheaffer Center.
The visiting Patriots (4-6) brought their A-game, and, combined with the effects of Finals Week at SAGU, made the Lions sweat before they passed the test.
SAGU, now 7-1, never trailed in the second half and led 75-64 with 5:35 left in the game.
Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS) poured in 12-of-19 shots to finish with a career-best 30 points.
His previous high was 22 during last year's 72-68 win over Martin-Methodist College (Tenn) (21-10) in the Second Round of the NAIA national tournament.
In that game the Lions overcame a seven-point deficit with 4:47 remaining. Walter drained four three-point baskets in the game.
Against Arlington Baptist he also added five rebounds and three steals.
The junior flyer’s opportunity to deliver the final nail with a two-handed slam was cut short by a hard foul. Otherwise, he flashed like a steel blade all night.
The upstart Patriots did draw to within five with 2:48 remaining, but could manage just two shot attempts the rest of the way. SAGU's defense applied the clamps to keep ABC from seriously threatening.
The Lions missed their final six shots, all with chances to ice the win. One was a 3-on-1 fastbreak with the layup spinning out.
Instead the team stymied their guests with defense and by protecting both the ball and the lead.
Coach Speak: Giving Credit
“First of all, I want to give credit to Coach (Clifton) McDaniel and his team,” said SAGU’s Head Coach Donnie Bostwick. “They played their socks off.”
“They have already played St. Thomas (NAIA qualifier, 65-49), Texas A&M International (7-3 record) (NCAA D2, 79-69) and UT-Permian Basin (8-1 record) (NCAA D2, 91-81) just as tough this year.”
“He has a very solid and veteran squad. (Raphael) Garcia can really shoot it and once he got it going, he was tough to cool off.”
The junior transfer scored 26 points, highlighted by an eight-of-13 long distance exhibition.
It was his white-hot start that served as the Patriots impetus in the opening the game with a 22-7 lead.
SAGU answered with a 21-5 run to seize the lead, 30-29, and had the lead for good at the half, 47-42. Walter had 17 points by recess, including four trifectas.
Trailing 34-30 with 4:36 left in the half, the Lions raced ahead during a 17-8 finish.
After scoring on a baseline drive, Walter stroked a 3-ball from the corner pocket after taking a kickout pass from Karor Gumwell (Victoria, Australia / Victory Christian, Southwestern CC [Terrell, Tx] [Terrell, Tx] [[).
Daniel Mills (Belton, Tx / Belton HS ) broke down the Arlington defense with a penetrating move on the Lions next possession. He spotted Walter on the wing, where he launched a trey to go on top, 43-42.
SAGU never relinquished the lead.
Gumwell scored in transition on an offensive stickback, his second follow-up basket in less than a minute to help solidify the halftime advantage.
“Jon was ready to go tonight,” commented Bostwick. “It was great to see him put us on his back for most of the night.”
“He has really worked hard to take his game to another level this year.”
“We were struggling and someone had to step up and break the ice,” explained Walter. “I hit a couple shots and when we started pressing it got rolling.”
“I'm glad my teammates felt confident enough to keep passing the ball,” he continued, “and that Coach had the confidence to play me all those minutes.”
“I got hot,” he assessed. “That’s all I can say.”
The humble junior let’s his play do the talking, and it came through loud and clear.
Big Contributors: Gentry, Gumwell
The third year coach, now 67-17 at SAGU, also praised the play of senior guard Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ ).
“Hondo has led us the whole first semester. He had an amazing stat line; 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals.”
True. Down 29-27 he intercepted a pass in the backcourt and scored. Gumwell followed with a smooth three-pointer from the top of the key.
“I felt the unsung hero tonight was Karor,” added Bostwick. He contributed nine points, eight boards and had three steals.
The junior has come a long way. He was born in Khartoum, Sudan, and then moved to Cairo, Egypt. Eventually his family relocated to Victoria, Australia.
Very athletic at 6’7, Coach Bostwick summed up the Gospel Globetrotter's effort with an unintended pun. “Tonight, he came up big!”
“We have had a challenging first semester, but God has helped is through the storm,” reflected the coach.
“Right now we are going to enjoy some well-deserved rest, enjoy our families and celebrate our Savior's Birth.”
Walter delivered a layup on an inbounds play to begin the decisive 9-0 run that served as a scoreboard stiff-arm to the Patriots. He assisted a drive by Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian ) to lead 70-64.
From the leftside during transition, Gentry lateraled to Walter for a deuce in traffic.
Then Walter swiped the ball near the sideline and then feathered a long pass to Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Chr-Addison, Ranger College ) for a ten-point lead.
Gentry capped the run with a free throw for a 75-64 upper hand.
Lions victory by the key numbers
When reviewing the box score of SAGU games, the true indicators of their effort can be found in three areas.
They all point to hustle, heart and teamwork to gain extra possessions of the ball.
Against Arlington Baptist, the trio of stats was colored purple.
Offensive Rebounds: the Lions had an 18-7 margin.
Total Shots Attempted: the Lions tried 75, the Patriots 51.
Turnovers: the Lions made 15 and forced 24.
From here on the path to the post-season takes a steep incline. There are 22 games remaining (half of them are at home); all but two are against foes in the Sooner Athletic Conference.
On Thursday, January 2, the Lions travel to Shawnee, Oklahoma to face top-seeded Oklahoma Baptist University.
Two days later they return home for a 5:00pm clash with nationally-ranked Mid-America Christian University.
The game against MACU is the first of eleven games to be aired in HD by SAGU Sports Live.
Current SAC Standings: http://www.soonerathletic.org/sport/0/4.php
Photo Gallery of the Game: http://www.movingpictures.photoreflect.com/