Lions steady in 86-80 road win over Wesleyan
Gentry, Walter, Adoyi come up big to stymie Rams
SAGU hosts USAO on Saturday at 5pm; rematch of NAIA opener
Box Score and Standings (links below)
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University latched on to a hasty 9-2 lead over Texas Wesleyan University on Thursday night at the Sid Richardson Center and never relinquished it.
As Stephen King wrote in one of his novels, the Lions were as “steady as a rock in a frozen brook.”
SAGU built a 16-point first half lead and kept the Rams at bay en route to an 86-80 victory to remain the only unbeaten team in the Sooner Athletic Conference.
The No. 2 ranked Lions (11-1 in all games / 4-0 in SAC) enjoyed the fruit of their trademark defense, hustle and crashing the offensive boards. It led to a 41-26 advantage in shot attempts and a 45-33 upper hand at the half.
They led by double-figures for most of the second half.
Desperately trying to make a run, only twice could the Rams net back-to-back baskets in the second half. Both times they drew to within eight at 61-53 and 76-68.
The Lions, who didn’t make their first turnover until the second half, played like the lead wore a bulletproof vest. While they couldn’t put away the Rams, they had an answer for every knock at the door.
Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS ), Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) and Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / LR Parkview HS ) countered with confident play in the clutch.
Walter fed Remington Mitchell (Mansfield, Tx / Mansfield HS ) inside for a bucket, then stroked a turn-around jumper after a Gentry pass to give the Lions a 65-53 lead (11:24 to go).
Striding in for a transition deuce, Walter countered consecutive TWU field goals. Adoyi then tipped in an offensive putback (71-58, 8:00).
At the end of the shot clock, Adoyi (pronounced like ‘a TOY’) spotted Walter at the elbow, where his wrister made it 73-61.
On their next possession SAGU rang the 'death knell.' Adoyi dished a dime to Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Chr CH, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) in the corner.
He chimed a loud three-pointer to make it 76-63 with 4:18 remaining.
A timely offensive rebound by Walter set up Gentry for two foul shots and a 10-point advantage entering the final minute.
Gentry stroked 8-of-10 free throws in the final minute to stave off the Rams.
The Lions missed five from the line in the final sixty seconds that allowed Wesleyan to whittle their deficit to 84-80 on a three-point play with four seconds to play.
Gentry iced it with a pair at the line.
Wesleyan, 7-6 overall and 1-3 in the S.A.C., sported a 10 threes per game average entering the game.
Well defended on the perimeter, they swished just two in 18 tries. The first come in the game’s 28th minute, the second in the last minute.
Both were from the hands of Deonte Jones, giving him 48 on the season. He ranks third in the nation beyond the arc.
The Rams, who still lead the series with SAGU, 23-6, have lost the last four and five of six.
Five players scored in double figures, topped by Rilwan (like ‘real one’) Bakare’s 13 points. Jorge Redmon added 12.
Gentry paced five in double digits for the Purple Pride. The senior guard totaled 20 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Making 7-of-10 from the field, Walter accounted for 17 points. He had nine boards and five assists.
Rambo was relatively quiet with 14 points. The playmaker registered three assists and was one of three players with three steals.
Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Chr-Addison, Ranger College ) was credited with 10 points, six caroms, three helpers and three thefts. Daniel Mills (Belton, Tx / Belton HS ) came off the bench for 10 points in eight minutes.
The much improved Adoyi tossed in eight points and snared a game-high 10 rebounds (five offensive), blocked a shot and pilfered three steals.
While SAGU controlled the first half, Feemster was turning in a stellar effort.
During an 11-4 run, Mills, Gentry and Feemster all fired in 3-balls to lead 29-16.
Feemster’s came seconds after making a steal on defense. He got the outlet pass to Rambo, who led a wave of players downcourt, eased to the middle, and then connecting with Feemster on the wing.
Rambo parlayed a backcourt embezzlement into an easy tally.
Gentry did the same before stopping and popping a pull-up jumper. It was 36-20.
Andre Crear (Ft Worth, Tx / Trimble Tech HS, Angelina College ) knocked down a midrange shot when Mitchell hit him with a kickout pass.
Feemster ripped the nets on another trey - thanks to Rambo pass, and drove the baseline for a reverse layup to lift Team Purp to a 41-29 lead.
‘Bo assisted on a trifecta by Gentry to push the margin to 44-31.
SAGU takes on Science & Arts at home on Saturday
The Lions are in action at home on Saturday at 5:00pm when the University of Science & Arts (Ok) (5-6 / 2-2 in SAC) visit the Sheaffer Center.
The teams met in the opening round of the NAIA national tournament in March in Kansas City. SAGU won, 62-58, though the Drovers led at the break, 28-23.
SAGU Sports Live will air the game in HD video on SAGU TV.
Photos courtesy of Little Joe Valdez (Ft. Worth)