SAGU grounds Golden Eagles, 63-52
Gentry, Rambo, Walter, 'D' shutdown John Brown
Saturday in the S.A.C.: SAGU (14-1) at St. Gregory's (13-2), 5:00pm
Box Score and Standings (links below)
Coach Bostwick's Comments (see note below)
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- No. 2 ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University raced to a quick 10-3 lead and was never threatened in a 63-52 triumph over John Brown University (Ark) on Thursday night at the near-packed Sheaffer Center.
The Lions’ quickness and defense were clearly the difference throughout the contest of Sooner Athletic Conference foes. John Brown, the defending SAC champion, never led. They trailed 36-21 at intermission and struggled in its attempt to get up to speed.
SAGU, now 14-1 overall and 7-0 in the SAC, stretched their winning streak to nine-in-a-row. They held a commanding 63-43 lead with 3:37 to play before emptying their entire bench.
The Golden Eagles, who were ranked as high as No. 7 after an 11-0 start, dropped their fourth game in five tries. Now 12-4 in all games and 2-4 in league action, they slipped to seventh in the SAC.
Twice in the second half the Eagles cut into a steady double-digit deficit only to be rebuffed. A modest 6-0 run pulled them to within 38-31 before the Lions reeled off 10 unanswered points (48-31) with 10:42 to play.
A pair of three-pointers helped pull JBU within nine, 50-41, but a 13-2 reply extended the Lions advantage to 20.
SAGU’s defensive intensity swarmed the Golden Eagles and resulted in 21 turnovers and a season-high 20 steals. The Purple Pride entered the game atop the SAC in thefts at 11.9 per game.
In a decisive first half the hosts held the SAC’s best shooting team (52%) to 6-of-22 (27%) from the field.
SAGU dominated the boards, 47-35, including 18-8 on the offensive glass. They began the game as the SAC leader in offensive rebounds at 15.0 per game.
The final margin of shots attempted revealed the prevailing play of the Lions on this night. They attempted 68 while allowing only 45.
JBU benefitted mightily from a 24-10 surplus in fouls called against the home team.
SAGU never shot a one-and-one and, in the second half when the Golden Eagles were trying to get back in the game, attempted only one free throw.
Meanwhile, JBU was sent to the foul line 21 times after halftime.
In points scored from baskets, SAGU had a 59-37 upper hand. JBU sank 15 of 29 from the charity stripe compared to the Lions’ four of seven.
The Golden Eagles were missing one of their leaders on offense and have been without one or two players in their recent skid. It may have made little difference the way SAGU executed on defense.
While the battle on the boards often makes the headlines, it was on the perimeter where the outcome was determined.
Starting senior guards Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ ), Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Chr CH, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) and junior Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS ) defused the JBU attack. They made haste and wreaked havoc with by pressuring and trapping the undermanned Golden Eagles backcourt.
Gentry, the SAC leader in steals, was the protagonist. His dogged defense and four steals were significant.
Rambo, who led the nation in steals last season, proved that crime pays in the hardcourt. He embezzled the ball six times, often resulting in breakaway layups.
Walter’s lateral movement and long-armed skills helped reduce passing lanes while double-teaming to cajole Eagles ball handlers.
In short, SAGU’s ferocity at doing the hard work of tireless defending was plenty.
The offense made 41% of their shots in the first half when they also drained six of their nine three-point baskets.
Rambo paced the offense with 23 points, connecting on 10-of-19 shots. Daniel Mills (Belton, Tx / Belton HS ) came off the bench to toss in a pair of treys en route to nine points.
Adoyi (pronounced like ‘a TOY’) was an energetic force with seven points, a game-high 14 rebounds while also blocking two shots. He snatched eight on offensive window, equaling the JBU team total.
The Golden Eagles had two forwards reach double digits; Quinton Smith (13) and 6'9 Max Hopfgartner (12). The latter registered 10 rebounds.
Gilbert Gyamfi (JEE-ahm-fee), a 6-foot-4 guard who averages 18.0 ppg, was squeezed into six turnovers. It matched his point total.
Lions face No. 11 St. Greg's in Shawnee, Ok on Saturday at 5:00pm
SAGU has a huge road test on Saturday evening. They travel to Shawnee, Oklahoma (227 miles from Waxahachie) to meet No. 11 ranked St. Gregory’s University (13-2 / 4-2 in SAC).
The game will be available on-line in a LiveStats webcast. Log on at: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Webcasts.aspx?association=10
LiveStats is a digital account of the game’s play-by-play and includes the score and time while simultaneously posting team and individual player stats in real time.
The Lions are on the road for five straight games before returning home on February 8 against Texas Wesleyan University.
However, fans can make a short trip to nearby Cedar Hill on Tuesday, January 21, for the SAGU at Northwood University game at 8:00pm.
Read Coach Bostwick’s Post-Game Quotes (in a separate article on Friday)
SAC Standings: http://www.soonerathletic.org/
Official Box Score: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/BoxScores/BoxScores.aspx?association=10&sg=MBB&sea=NAIMBB_2013&team=440&compID=169876