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SAGU suffers second loss inspite of all-out effort

Coach dishes out praise, stresses need to refine in the fire

coach-bostwick-kcWAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Ever the teacher and mentor, Southwestern Assemblies of God University men's basketball Head Coach Donnie Bostwick saw much to like during last night's 89-82 setback at Wayland Baptist University. He also knows there's still progress to be made.

Playing in the toughest and best conference in the NAIA means a tenacious battle every night in the Sooner Athletic Conference. At the midway point in the 20-game league schedule his Lions are 9-1 and have a two-game lead. There's plenty of action yet to be played.

SAGU is 16-2 overall. Only two teams in the NAIA have lost less.

The Lions have 12 games remaining, 10 of them against SAC members. Six of the conference games are at home.

During the "far trek" bus ride home last night he answered questions and shed light on key areas related to the team and the game.

"We praise our King for the opportunity to worship Him tonight and for keeping us from injury," he said, summarizing the evening in the Texas Panhandle. "We struggled tonight yet He gave us the strength to battle back. It gave ourself a chance in the end."

"If you tell me before the game that we would be in a tied game with a minute left after shooting 33 percent and getting out rebounded," he reflected, "then I would say we fought hard to put ourselves in position to win."

"That's exactly how I feel too. I am very proud of my young men," he added, "and thankful to God for giving us the opportunity to represent Him well tonight."

Composed under pressure and on the road, the Lions never lost the fight.

"Wayland played better than us for most the night," Bostwick said. "They stand for the same Savior we do."

"I give them and their staff credit for coming up with and executing their game plan. (Head Coach) Matt (Garnett) does a great job and has a Top 25 caliber team for sure."

"They had a greater since of urgency than we had tonight," he acknowledged. "That is my fault. Preparation is one of my most important responsibilities."

Key numbers indicative of effort and reward

The Lions made 33% of their shots compared to the Pioneers' 43% accuracy. WBU also had a 55-46 edge in rebounds.

However, key statistics that usually point to victory for the Purple Pride were all indicating 'job well done.'coach-bostwick-assts

The Lions held a large advantage in shots attempted, 88 to 61. They owned advantages in three-pointers, 14 to 10, and in offensive rebounds, 21 to 16.

Plus, SAGU committed only nine turnovers while forcing 17.

The Pioneers stamped ixnay on those factors with a 39 to 13 benefit from the free throw line. Outscored 72 to 62 in baskets, the Pioneers converted 27 foul shots to SAGU's 10.

In fact, in the last four games the Lions have had similar results.

SAGU has attempted 89 and made 61 free throws (.685) in that stretch. At the same time their opponents have gone to the charity stripe 136 times, converting 82 (.603).

Coach Bostwick responded to the disparity.

"We have to make some adjustments on how we attack the basket," he said. "We are struggling for some reason getting to the free throw line while our opponents get their regularly."

"Overcoming a 39 to 13 free throw margin tonight made it tough to win."

"We are attacking the basket a lot, but aren't getting to the line. We have to make the necessary adjustments and go stronger and off two feet."

"Not making that adjustment is my responsibility as well," he admitted, "and another reason we came up short tonight."

The top spot in the NAIA Top 25 Poll

As for the No. 1 ranking, he knows during a four month season how often that designation can change. The Lions were the third team hold that distinction in the poll's last four weeks.

"Concerning the No. 1 ranking," the third year coach stated, "we're glad it brings positive exposure to our university. SAGU is a great school which stands for all the right things."

"Representing our students, administration, faculty, alumni and especially our great fans is important to us."

"As important as it was to achieve SAGU's first-ever No. 1 ranking, it fails in comparison to why our players play and fight so hard night in and night out. We play for a platform to praise our King. The only No. 1 ranking that truly matters is that we keep Jesus No. 1 in our lives."

Getting ticket stamped for Kansas City still five weeks away

A year ago Columbia College (Mo) went undefeated in the regular season and entered the 32-team tournament as the team to beat. Their season ended after two wins at the national tournament, falling 79-78 to LSU-Shreveport.

The Cougars were 35-1 with just one-point doing them in. They are currently 17-2.

Georgetown College (Ky), who finished third in their conference, went on to win the NAIA crown. GC is currently 17-2.

A few years ago it was Texas Wesleyan University winning the national championship. They were seeded No. 27 when the tourney began.

The coach added that while it's (the ranking) is good for public relations, there is very little that separates the top teams.

“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.”

Strap yourself in fans, the ride is going to be wild!

Contact: Mark "Link" Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 469-658-2847.

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