SAGU whistles past Northwood, 92-84
14 Three-Pointers were critical as Lions overcame foul trouble
SAGU, now 16-1, starts second half with 13-0 run keyed by tactical move
Bostwick describes the team and what the No. 1 ranking means
Box Score and Play-by-Play (links below)
CEDAR HILL, Texas -- No. 1 ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University hitched their horses to a pace-setting defense and a patient, selfless offense in running the gauntlet past the Northwood University Knights, 92-84.
The game was played at Nutting Arena on the campus of Trinity Christian School, where SAGU’s Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Chr CH, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) was a two-sport, All-State performer.
The Lions overcame a physical Knights defense and a surplus of whistles that often brought the game to a standstill.
Even with the lead throughout the game the Purple Pride were called for a season high 31 fouls that sent Northwood to the foul line for 51 free throws. Eleven different Knights attempted at least two or more FT’s.
A resolute Lions team played as though they didn't notice.
Rebounding was an impressive draw, allowing SAGU to operate an offense that located an open cutter or perimeter gunner. They fired seven triples in each half to keep the Knights at bay.
The chink in the hosts’ armor was their lack of long-range artillery. The Knights launched 18 shots from beyond the arc. Only one got through the cylinder.
Leading 38-36 at intermission the Lions took command by scoring the first 13 points of the second half without a reply.
They would not surrender the lead nor would they be seriously threatened the rest of the way.
A frustrated Northwood would draw three technical fouls. When Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Chr-Addison, Ranger College ) stroked four foul shots in succession after a pair of T’s, the SAGU lead was at 75-59 with 6:59 to play.
In the closing three minutes the Lions were only able to attempt one shot while being sent to the charity stripe for 16 free throws. They made only 10, which allowed the Knights to come to within 88-82 with 0:31 to play.
That was as close as they would get. Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) and Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian ) salted away the game with foul shots.
The only shot SAGU was able to fire? A three-pointer from the wing by Rambo.
He nailed it with 1:41 to go to maintain a double-digit lead.
“It was another hard fought battle against a talented and worthy opponent,” Lions’ third year Head Coach Donnie Bostwick said. “They (NU) keep coming at you for 40 minutes.”
“Coach (Ray) Wilkerson does a good job and gets them to play an up-tempo style that is full of momentum runs.” Each time the Lions countered.
“I was very pleased with our composure,” he explained. “It was a big part of the victory.”
What triggered the second half opening was a strategic move in the Lions man-to-man defense.
“I felt the key to the game was the way we came out of the locker room,” he pointed out. “We were sparked by shifting Hondo (Gentry) to guarding their great big man, (Everett) Pleasant.”
“He was able to frustrate him with his quickness and toughness, while his (Gentry’s) help-side defenders provided great help. Very few guards have the toughness to enjoy that challenge.”
Gentry’s entry into the fray spelled SAGU’s top defender, 6’5 forward Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / LR Parkview HS ), who was saddled with foul trouble. The stratagem enabled the Lions to create separation on the scoreboard.
They made it hold up.
“We did a nice job of keeping a grip on the game, the lead and our poise,” stated Bostwick.
At 6’5, Pleasant is scoring over 20 points per game and leads the SAC in rebounds (11.2 rpg). He did, however, finish with 25 and 11.
Rambo started slow. He was 2-of-10 at the half for eight points. He heated up with four second-half trifectas and played error-free. He totaled 25 points and six rebounds.
Seemed like he had played on that court a few times. Then again, his name still appears on the arena banners.
Gentry tossed in a pair of treys and swished 10-of-13 from the foul line. His totals revealed 18 points and five assists.
Feemster and Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS ) carried the team in the first half before being burdened with fouls.
Feemster had three triples and 15 points while Walter had two and 13.
Walter led SAGU on the glass with nine rebounds, five on offense. Adoyi had six boards before fouling out.
Guidry and Daniel Mills (Belton, Tx / Belton HS ) came off the bench for nine and six points respectively, each connecting once from downtown.
“It was good to see Tyler come alive and give us good minutes,” praised Bostwick. “He was critical in our (second half) run as well.”
As for Rambo, whose 24.6 is the best in the NAIA, he said he “…was the same relentless force he is every night.”
The coach said that ‘Bo and Feemster "had hot hands and helped us build a lead.”
On Deck: 'Far trek' to face Wayland on Thursday
The team will be back in action on Thursday when they take on No. 24 ranked Wayland Baptist University (12-5) in Plainview, Texas. It is a 362-mile trek to the Texas Panhandle.
The Pioneers have dropped three successive games – by four, one and three points – all on the road. This figures to be a huge test for SAGU.
Fans can follow the action on livestream video, LiveStats or on radio. Details will be posted in a preview article on Thursday. The game starts at 8:00pm.
Coach Bostwick summed up the team’s immediate schedule and their preparation.
“Now we get one day to travel and catch our legs before playing a very good Wayland Baptist team. They are another top 25 Team this year from the SAC.”
“We will have to play well and tap into God to renew our strength to overcome their size and talent.”
The Lions will complete the first round of playing the other 10-teams in the SAC when they play the Pioneers. Overall, league teams play a 20-game conference itinerary.
“We just take one game at a time and enjoy the journey,” the coach said following the win at Northwood.
Coach addresses his team and the Top 25 poll
“The preparation, the healing of our bodies, considering all adversity as joy and continuing to pray for God to show His Glory through our team.”
“We may not be the biggest or most talented team in the country but we are a close group of warriors who are playing for something bigger than ourselves.”
And with a No. 1 ranking added as an extra incentive for opponents, the task can be daunting.
“I know the 'No.1' is good for public relations,” he acknowledged, “but there is not much difference whether you are #5 or #1.”
“Every team's goal is to get a ticket to Kansas City (site of the NAIA national tournament), and they don't hand those out in January.”
Note: Click on the split blue box to access the account of the game's play-by-play.
SAC Standings: http://www.soonerathletic.org/