Bostwick comments on the win over John Brown
Coach praises strengths of defenders Gentry, Rambo
Backcourt duo includes "the best defender in the country"
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Thursday night’s 63-52 win over John Brown University was carried largely on the backs of the Southwestern Assemblies of God University defense.
Their work ethic "punched in" and didn’t punch out until the final horn. They were as effective as they were indefatigable.
The team was credited with 20 steals and thwarted the Sooner Athletic Conference’s best shooting team. The Golden Eagles swished 36% of their shots, well below their season average of 52%.
Third year Head Coach Donnie Bostwick sang the praises of the effort given by his defenders in purple and gold.
“At the core of our win tonight, as are most of our victories, is the incredible defense of Caleb Gentry,” he said following the game. “He locked down JBU's best player, which is so hard to do.”
“He would be the first to mention that he received great help from his teammates, but his effort is unmatched. In my opinion, he is the best defensive player in the country.”
“I would argue that (Dominique) Rambo is a close second, but they are different,” Bostwick continued. “Both have amazing quickness and toughness, but each knows how to use their unique skills to make it hard on opponents.”
“Few players can change the game on both ends of the floor as those two do," he said.
"And it does not stop there as Emmanuel (Adoyi) and Jon (Walter) are also great defenders and their supporting cast continues to improve every game.”
The energy spent on the counter-attack often comes at the expense of offense. While the Lions rack-up their horse to the post of defense, they have plenty of weapons when it comes to producing points.
Players like Walter, Gentry and Caleb Feemster all focused on repelling the Golden Eagles by controlling the boards or denying entry points to the basket.
The bench joined ranks in the defensive labor force. Guards Tyler Guidry and Drew Erskine and forwards Daniel Mills and Remington Mitchell played an average of 10+ minutes during the first 37 minutes.
Guidry knocked down a triple, made a steal and led the team with three assists. Erskine bagged two threes while Mills scored nine points - including two trifectas, and Big Rem registered three boards.
“Taking pride in defense shows such a selfless nature,” Added Bostwick. “You go unnoticed most of the time in the stats and it takes so much effort and energy to play the kind of defense these guys are playing night in night out.”
At SAGU, if you want to play, you will play defense.
Bostwick mentioned the new rule modifications in college basketball this season, which make it more difficult to defend inside the paint.
“The rule changes favor the offensive player,” he conceded, “and I so appreciate the toughness, competitive greatness and humility it takes to play good team defense every night.”
If the Lions had a name for their playing style it would have to be “All Out.” They go hard, full throttle, for in three to five minutes the next rotation of players are checking in. So there is little reason to conserve energy. Rest is coming.
Bostwick, who played and coached at John Brown, went on to say that “Offensive rebounding and pushing the ball (up court), the overall effort they (the Lions) give is flat out impressive.”
“Because of our ranking, we are and will continue to get every opponent's best effort. We just strive to lean on God for strength to be up to the challenge. We know He is the source of our success and deserves all the glory.”
Do the Drew: Sophomore guard Andrew Erskine
Erskine (ER-skin) transferred to SAGU after his freshman season at NCAA D3 Centenary College (Shreveport, La). He earned seven starts there.
His contribution at SAGU has supplied a much needed tonic.
His vision and passing provides a solid skill set and depth behind Rambo. He is averaging over 17 minutes a game and seven points per game. Twice he has posted 20+ points in a game.
“Another awesome story is Andrew,” Bostwick said. “Drew has been such an answer to prayer this season.”
“He really has a great relationship with the Lord and, because of that; it does not completely surprise me how great he has played.”
“I would be lying if I said I saw it (his level of play) coming,” he admitted, “but the more I get to know this young man, the more I see who he relies on daily for his calmness, courage, and ability to rise to the occasion. What a blessing he has been.”
Against JBU he shot twice, both from outside of the arc. Each hit nothing but nylon.
In 18 minutes he also had three rebounds, two assists, a pair of steals and zero turnovers.
Five consecutive road games; Saturday at St. Greg's
Of the seven games the team has played this semester, four have been at home. Next, the Lions hit the road for five straight.
“We have a huge road stretch coming up,” quipped Bostwick. “We will lean heavily on The Lord and pray for His favor and protection.”
Last season the Lions went 14-1 away from the Sheaffer Center, not losing until a meaningless regular season finale. They are 5-1 on the road so far this season.
Saturday they are at St. Gregory’s University (13-2 overall, 4-2 in SAC) in Shawnee, Oklahoma.