SAGU hoops face nationally ranked OKCU tonight
Fans can watch live video; other media available
SAGU boasts SAC's leading scorers in men/women in Rambo/Winston
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma -- When Southwestern Assemblies of God University takes to the court at the Abe Lemons Arena this evening they will face a nationally ranked team in both the women’s and men’s games.
Oklahoma City University’s home facility, opened in 2000 with 3,400 seats, is named after the legendary coach who succeeded at both winning and making people laugh.
At 6:00pm the SAGU Lady Lions (10-10 / 4-6 in SAC) and the No. 7 ranked OCU Stars (12-2 / 9-1 SAC) meet.
The men’s contest, set for an 8:00pm tipoff, has a similar big-game feel. No. 4 SAGU (17-2 / 9-1 SAC) and No. 29 Oklahoma City (10-7 / 6-4 SAC) square off in a clash of title contenders.
Having completed the first half of the 20-game itinerary against Sooner Athletic Conference teams, tonight starts the critical second round.
SAGU fans can access the live audio, stats or video livestream at: http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/okcu.portal
If the first meeting of these teams is any indication, fans may need to shut the front door and buckle up.
Team Lioness scored nine straight points to take a 59-58 lead with 8:37 to play on a Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS ) free throw. The Stars regrouped down the stretch to claim a 77-65 triumph at the Sheaffer Center. It was possibly the Lady Lions best effort of the 2014 campaign.
OCU has suffered only a pair of setbacks, both against ranked teams. They are 7-1 in home games. Meanwhile, no team in the Sooner Athletic Conference has won more (six) road games than the Purple Pride.
The top two scorers in the SAC will be in the spotlight this evening. SAGU’s Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS ), scoring at an 18.2 ppg clip, retains a crow’s nest view.
OCU’s Yvonte Neal, the league’s current Player of the Week, is second at 17.3.
The key disparity is in team balance. The hosts have six players scoring in, or right near, double figures. As a team they net 84 ppg. SAGU has no other (double digit) scoring threats, revealed by their 62 points per game (ppg) average.
The Lady Lions forte is defense, permitting an SAC low .342 success rate to opposing shooters.
The men’s first contest was even tighter. SAGU built a 10-point second half lead and held off a late Stars rally to win, 68-63. The Lions were outshot, 43% to 31%, and each team had 43 rebounds.
The difference was 21 offensive rebounds and forcing the Stars into 21 turnovers. SAGU’s No. 21, Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS ), was huge with clutch baskets and nine boards.
The difference, according to OCU first year Head Coach Dionne Phelps, was the Lions hustle and ability to secure loose balls.
Both teams yield only 72 points per game and rank among the best in the NAIA on defense. The Lions have the edge in offense, scoring 83.4 to the Stars 76.5.
R.J. McGhee, a 6’6 forward, joined OCU in January. He leads the team with 18 ppg, though he was held to a season-low of five points by the Lions. He is the player to watch this evening.
The SAGU backcourt, with Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Chr CH, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) leading the NAIA in steals per game, along with pilfering partner, Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ ), who ranks No. 13, will seek to unsettle the Stars.
OCU has four conference losses, all on the road, coming by three, seven, five and one point. They are 7-1 at home, falling only to NCAA D2 Central Oklahoma University (11-7 record).
The Pride has an 8-2 mark when away from Waxahachie. Both defeats were administered to ranked foes, LSU-Shreveport and Wayland Baptist University.
Only one other team in the SAC, No. 22 St. Gregory’s University (4-3) has a winning record on the road.
A complete report will be posted here following the games.
Team Purple plays at home on Saturday afternoon
SAGU returns home on Saturday afternoon following their two-week road trip.
The Lady Lions tangle with Southwestern Christian University in a 3:00pm matinee.
After a special ring ceremony and the raising of three banners - to honor last year's men's team, the Lions take on SCU at 5:00pm.
Both games will be aired in HD by SAGU Sports Live.
NOTE: The men's basketball team slid from their lofty No. 1 perch to No. 4 in this week's NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll.
Just two days after achieving their first-ever top spot the Lions were topped in the final minute by Wayland Baptist University, 89-82, in Plainview, Texas.
Their have been six polls since the end of last season and there have been six teams ranked No. 1.