Walter shines as No. 4 Lions thump SCU, 78-56
Defense stymies top three-point shooting team
Eleven Lions score; eight make triples as team improves to 19-2
Conference Standings: http://www.soonerathletic.org/
Box Score, Play-by-Play (access below)
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Led by a defense that defused the conference leader in three-point bombs per game (11.2), No. 4 ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University overpowered Southwestern Christian University, 78-56, in men’s basketball on Saturday night at the Sheaffer Center.
The Lions, now 19-2 in all games and 11-1 against the Sooner Athletic Conference, pounced on an 8-0 start and extended it to 21-4 and never looked back.
Defensively they contested the perimeter so well that the Eagles missed their first 17 attempts at a triple. Trailing by 19 at the time, the Eagles made their first with 9:39 left in the game.
SCU (6-13 / 2-10 in SAC) finished the game 3-of-25 (.120) against the league’s best defense against the three-ball. SAGU’s ball-hawking guards allow a 28% success rate on the longball.
The defensive shutdown held the Eagles to a season-low in scoring.
Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ ), Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Chr CH, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) and Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS ) ate like a one-man army at the arc. The trio denied open looks and prevented SCU from finding their rhythm until the outcome was well-determined.
Averaging 40 points per half, the Eagles managed to connect on 24% of their shots and scored only 17 by intermission. They never reduced the deficit in the second stanza.
As for offense, Walter had plenty. The 6-foot-4 junior sank 8-of-13 tries, including a pair of treys, to lead the Purple Pride with 20 points. And, like four of the five starters, sat for 15 minutes.
While Rambo is the catalyst and Gentry is the energy, the silky smooth Walter brings size and length at both ends of the court.
He averages 16 points per game and is the team’s best shooter. Currently he’s true on .505 percent of these attempts, sixth best in the SAC.
Along with the 5’10 Rambo, he led the team in rebounds with nine. He was credited with four steals and accounted for zero turnovers.
Lost in the headlines of the game was the defensive effort by Southwestern Christian. They did an excellent job thwarting Rambo and Gentry from their normal game. Overall they limited the Lions to 36% shooting.
But they couldn’t account for the Lions depth. SAGU reserves outscored their counterparts by a 31-11 count. They made more trifectas (5) and the Eagles team (3).
Rambo finished with 10 points, which was equaled by sophomore Drew Erskine (Houston, Tx / Victoria West HS, Centenary College ). The latter connected on both of his shots beyond the arc and on four-of-five free throws. He made his 10 points in just 12 minutes.
So evenly distributed were the shots that three SAGU starters fired five or fewer. None seemed to care. The team nailed a dozen three-pointers, made by eight different players.
Four Lions ripped the nets from downtown; Walter, Erskine, forward Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Chr-Addison, Ranger College ) and even defensive standout Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / LR Parkview HS ).
The lanky 6’5 sophomore entered the game with just treys. He rattled home 2-of-3 from beyond the curve.
Eleven players scored for SAGU. (See the box score for individual totals)
Reggie Sloan and Adam Dirlbeck shared scoring honors for the Eagles with 12 apiece. The 6’5 Czech native from the Prague reeled in a game-high 11 boards.
To their credit, the Eagles limited their turnovers to 15 against the aggressive defenders in Purple and Gold. The Lions made 11.
A memorable play that said much about the fight displayed by SCU came midway through the second half.
Walter was deprived of a transition dunk when an Eagle defender swept in to strip the ball away at the last second. Fans cried for a foul.
While there was contact that left Walter on the floor, he said afterwards that the play was clean, "the defender got all ball.”
The defensive game was well played and incident free.
SAGU is off until Thursday when they travel to Chickasha, Oklahoma to meet the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma.
The Lions met USAO in Kansas City, Mo. last year in the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament. In the first meeting between the teams this season a month ago, the Lions pulled away in the closing minutes to win, 80-71.
The Drovers are fourth in the SAC in three-pointers per game at approximately eight per. They take better care of the ball than anyone in the league, surrendering only 12 turnovers per outing.
A preview of the game will be posted on Thursday. It is a 227-mile trip to Chickasha (CHICK-ah-SHAY), which is south and west of Oklahoma City.
The game will be available on livestream video as well as a LiveStats webcast.
The next home game is Saturday, February 8, when Texas Wesleyan University visits for a 5:00pm contest. The Rams are currently 12-9 overall and 6-6 in the SAC.
SAGU Sports Live will air the game in HD video.
Click on the underlined score to view the Box Score. Click on the split blue box on the right to access detailed stats and the play-by-play accounts of the game.
Note: The Lions could rise in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll when it is released on Tuesday evening. No. 1 Freed-Hardeman University lost their first game over the weekend. Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) (16-7) beat the FHU Lions on a three-pointer at the buzzer, 78-77.
Cal State-San Marcos and University of Pikeville, also ahead of SAGU, had successful weeks.