Lions trump Royals, 107-76
Walter, Creer sizzle; SAGU sinks 58% of their shots
Now 17-2, team prepares for No. 27 ranked OKCU on Thursday
Current S.A.C. Standings: http://www.soonerathletic.org/
National Poll: How NAIA's Top 5 teams fared last week (below)
SPRINGDALE, Arkansas -- Led by a pair of juniors who combined to make 12 of 14 shots, No. 1 ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University brushed aside Ecclesia College, 107-76, Monday night at Har-Ber High School.
Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS ) was true on eight of nine attempts en route to 19 points while Andre Crear (Ft Worth, Tx / Trimble Tech HS, Angelina College ) swish four of five in a 12 point effort. Both players hit one of two attempts from beyond the arc.
SAGU improved their overall mark to 17-2. Ecclesia (ECK-less-SEE-ya) dropped to 4-14. The two teams will play again at the Sheaffer Center on Monday, February 24.
Overall the Lions were successful on 58% of their shots (39 of 67).
The hot hands enabled third year Head Coach Donnie Bostwick to play the full 16-man roster while limiting starters to 21 minutes apiece.
Connecting on 19 of 36 first half shots (.528) paved the way for a 56-36 lead at intermission. Meanwhile the Royals were limited to 11 of 32 (.344).
SAGU warmed up in the second stanza by converting 20-of-31 (.645).
The second and third rotation of players joined in the fiery assault, uniting to make good on 15 of 27 tries (.555).
“We played hard and unified tonight,” Coach Bostwick said during the trip back to Waxahachie. “We are hard to beat when we focus on those two areas.”
“Our goal each game is to get better. I felt we did that tonight.”
It was the team’s first game since losing in the last minute at Wayland Baptist University (14-5) on Thursday night.
“We have to recover quickly as we have a challenging road test at OCU on Thursday,” he added.
The Lions travel 235 miles to meet Oklahoma City University (10-7 / 6-4 in SAC). The Stars, ranked No. 27, have lost their four league games by an average of only four points.
SAGU won the first meeting at home, 68-63.
In defeating Ecclesia, the Lions had four players reach double-figures.
Joining Walter and Crear were junior Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Chr-Addison, Ranger College ) and senior Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Chr CH, Ok Wesleyan Univ ). Both bucketed 15 points.
“This was a good win for us,” Feemster stated. “Our guys made extra passes and were really unselfish.”
“I think we refueled and bounced back big after a loss. We played with energy and passion and it resulted in a big win. I’m proud of my teammates.”
Junior guard Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian ) and sophomore Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / LR Parkview HS ) tossed in eight apiece. Freshman wing Daniel Mills (Belton, Tx / Belton HS ) contributed seven.
Sophomore guard Drew Erskine (Houston, Tx / Victoria West HS, Centenary College ), who was one of three players with three assists, netted six points.
Both senior Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) and 6'8 freshman Luke Eubank (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS ) were credited with five points. Junior center Ben Starks (Austin, Tx / Omaha Bryan HS, Southeastern CC ) had four points in as many minutes.
Bostwick said the production by reserves was filled with unselfish plays. “It was really as good of an overall team effort as I have seen.”
The Lions defense forced 21 turnovers, led by three Rambo steals.
Rolands Narkis, a 6’7 senior forward from Latvia, paced the Royals with 21 points and nine rebounds. He made 13 of 14 free throws.
Junior guard Kristofer Riggs sank nine of 16 shots in a 19 point showing.
Pre-game ceremony on Saturday to honor players from 2013 Nat'l Finalist
The Lions return home on Saturday to host Southwestern Christian University. The 5:00pm (CST) game will be broadcast in HD by SAGU Sports Live.
A special ceremony will take place following the women’s 3pm basketball game.
SAGU will honor last year’s national runner-up team by raising several banners as well as giving NAIA Finalist rings to members of the squad.
The observance will be broadcast at approximately 4:30pm.
High Five: NAIA Top 25 Poll Update
The NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll is expected to release their latest rankings on Tuesday afternoon. SAGU is likely to drop several spots following their 89-82 loss at No. 24 Wayland Baptist University on Thursday.
A week ago the previous No. 1 team, the University of Pikeville (Ky), slid to No. 4 after they fell to then-No. 18 Georgetown College (Ky).
During the past week No. 2 ranked Cal State-San Marcos (20-1) was idle.
No. 3 Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn) remained the NAIA's lone unbeaten team at 16-0 after a 2-0 week.
The Lions of FHU defeated Williams Baptist College (Ark) (10-8) 93-77 and William Woods University (Mo) (6-14), 90-80. Both were road games.
UPike (15-2) won their two games last week to improve to 17-2.
Assemblies of God sister school, Evangel University (Mo), was No. 5 last week. The Crusaders are 16-4 following a 1-1 week.
They lost, 85-82, at home to No. 15 Benedictine College (Ks) (15-4).
Overall, there are seven teams with two losses; SAGU (17-2), Dalton State College (Ga) (21-2), former No. 1 Columbia College (Mo) (18-2), Emmanuel College (Ga) (18-2), Pikeville (17-2), sister school Vanguard University (Cal) (17-2) and William Carey University (Miss) (13-2).