Lions open league season Thursday at OBU
Watch the match-up to SAC's top two teams in Coaches' Poll
Game Day Preview / Video Coverage (click here)
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The start of the league season in the Sooner Athletic Conference starts on Thursday night with a bang!
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (7-1), picked to finish second in the SAC in the Coaches’ Preseason Poll, will meet the team to beat, Oklahoma Baptist University (6-4) in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The game will be played in the Noble Complex, built in 1982, inside the 2,400 seat Mabee Center.
The Lions began the season ranked No. 5 nationally while OBU, perennial powers in both the Sooner and the NAIA, appeared at No. 2.
Fans can watch the action on livestream video or follow on the LiveStats webcast. Click on the attachment above for links to the broadcasts, statistics and the projected starting line-ups.
The men’s game is scheduled for an 8:00pm (CST) tipoff, after the women play at 6:00pm.
Both teams have scrambled in the early stages of this young season to develop their line-ups and their player rotations.
The Lions split a pair of games with then No. 2 ranked LSU-Shreveport and won two tight games against McPherson College (then 4-0) and an impressive Arlington Baptist College team.
As for the Bison, who were 25-8 last year, they have dropped three against nationally ranked teams; Evangel University, Benedictine College and LSU-Shreveport.
Three days ago they got even with No. 9 Evangel with an 80-69 victory on December 30.
With the addition of NCAA DI transfer Morris Woods from Eastern Illinois, the Bison enter Thursday night riding a three-game winning streak. Woods, a 6’4 guard, is averaging 18.0 points per game.
OBU is making 51% of their shots, which ranks fourth in the SAC. The Lions are last in the league at 41%.
The game matches teams who excel on defense, both allowing just 69 ppg.
Height gives the Bison an edge on the boards while SAGU hangs their hat on field goal defense. The Lions permit opponents to make just 37% of their attempts – the best in the SAC.
There are several solid player match-ups, nowhere more apparent than at point guard. Two senior standouts will be in the spotlight.
OBU’s 5-foot-9 Kendall Parks and SAGU’s 5’10 Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Chr CH, Ok Wesleyan Univ) giveth and taketh away.
Parks averages 7.1 assists per outing and leads his team in thefts with 2.8 spg. Rambo dished 4.0 dimes in 2013 and led the NAIA in steals.
Other critical duals may take place between each team’s two-guard and 3-4 (guard-small forward) players.
Woods and the Lions’ 6’4 Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS) at the ‘three’ and OBU’s 6’2 Cale Jackson and SAGU’s 6’0 Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ) – all are more than capable to take over a game. Jackson and Gentry are sharpshooters who can’t be overlooked.
The Lions penchant for winning at hustle plays is keyed by the play of Gentry, who is drawn to the ball like oak trees attract lightning.
That said, don’t be surprised if the hosts big men, 6’9 Hayden Darst and 6’5 Aaron Abram get their share of the rebounds.
SAGU will counter with 6’6 Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Chr-Addison, Ranger College) and 6’5 Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / LR Parkview HS).
Like the longball? Each team has perimeter shooters and one hot hand. Feemster has bagged 25 triples in eight games, one more than OBU’s Jackson.
It will be the first conference game for both teams. Each will play their second SAC game just two days later.
OBU travels to play Northwood University (in Cedar Hill, Tx) on Saturday at 5:00pm.
The Lions return home to meet No. 30 Mid-America Christian University (6-2 overall, 2-0 in SAC), Saturday at 5pm.
The game will be the first broadcast by SAGU Sports Live. The HD production begins with the pregame show prior to the women’s game at 2:45pm.
Rob Price returns as host and play-by-play man while Tim Roberts is the color analyst on Saturday. The men’s pregame is slated for 4:45pm.
Local fans, students and staff are urged to attend the games. The campus will be largely vacant for another week, meaning seats will be plenty.
SAC Standings: http://www.soonerathletic.org/sport/0/4.php
First Six Games of 2014
Jan. 2 @ Oklahoma Baptist (6-4 record), 8:00pm
Jan. 4 Home vs. Mid-America Christian (Ok) (6-2), 5:00pm
Jan. 6 @ Southwestern Christian (Ok) (5-3) 8:00pm
Jan. 9 @ Texas Wesleyan (6-5), 8:00pm
Jan. 11 Home vs. Science and Arts of Oklahoma (3-5), 5:00pm
Jan. 13 Home vs. Oklahoma City (4-4), 8:00pm