No. 4 Lions fall in overtime to Wayland
SAGU loses nine-point lead, squanders last second shot
Two home games remain; Monday, Thursday
22-game unbeaten streak at home comes to an end
Box Score, Play-by-Play, Photo Gallery (info below)
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- It is said that adversity introduces a man to himself. On Saturday all that was needed was a parallel performance.
The No. 4 ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s basketball team ran into a team that mirrors their strengths.
Four days after feeding the home fans with wild wings and tacos by scoring in triple digits and knocking down 18 three-pointers, the Lions met their carbon copy in Wayland Baptist University. And they were hungrier than the normally feeding-frenzied Pride.
The visiting Pioneers, now 19-9 overall and 10-8 in the Sooner Athletic Conference, dodged a bullet at the end of regulation and went on to hand SAGU (23-4 / 15-3 in SAC) a 98-91 overtime setback.
After taking the lead in the extra-time on a 16-foot Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Christian - CH, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) fade-away with an assist to Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian ), 87-85, the Lions offense unraveled. They tossed up three air-balls turned the ball over three times in the five minutes of extended play.
Wayland's defense allows opponents to make just 41% of their shots. They are the only team in the SAC to rank higher than the Lions 42% shooting defense.
Jon Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS ), the team’s most accurate shooter, went the final 18 minutes without a shot in the offense. In OT the team missed eight-of-nine shots, including a missed offensive putback by Walter.
Wayland connected on two-of-four shots and 10-of-14 free throws.
After the Lions tried consecutive shots that were iron-deficient, the Pioneers’ Travis Payton, the player of the game, took charge.
Taut at 85-85, he took a kickout pass from Bunja Yaboe and buried a trifecta from the right wing with 1:48 remaining. They would not trail again.
SAGU senior Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) attempted the equalizer from the corner, but it circled before rimming out.
Payton then zipped a pass to Royal Crouch for a runner in the lane and a 92-87 upper hand at the 1:23 mark. The Lions next bid was an errant three-ball.
WBU finished the game where they were most comfortable, on the foul line.
Like LSU-Shreveport a year ago, Wayland outhustled the Lions in sweeping both regular season meetings. The hosts played like a team who had already clinched the conference championship.
The defeat snapped a 22-game unbeaten streak at the Sheaffer Center for the Lions, who were 13-0 this year heading into the contest.
It was the Lions second loss to unranked Wayland Baptist. On January 23 the Pioneers snapped SAGU’s 11-game winning streak with an 89-82 victory.
Ironically, both games were tied at 82 going into the last minute of regulation. The Lions seldom lose close games. Wayland has done it twice.
After going 18-2 a year ago in games decided in OT or by nine-points or less, SAGU is 12-4 this season.
Saturday’s match was deadlocked on 16 occasions and swapped leaders another 18 times.
An 11-0 run midway through the second stanza had the Lions in position to salt away another tough, league win. The 60-51 lead would be the game’s largest.
But the Pride’s play the remainder of the game was unproductive and lacked synergy. Unforced turnovers and poor shot selection would waste a number of possessions.
Wayland, who were humbled by next to last place Northwood University, 111-102, two days earlier, were much more determined on Saturday.
Led by a trio of guards they annulled the Lions nine-point advantage with eleven straight points to go on top, 62-60, with 9:09 to play.
The teams scratched and clawed evenly until a pair of back-to-back three-point plays by Crouch and Payton had the guests in front, 80-74.
SAGU responded with a gutsy 10-4 spree. Guidry drove the baseline and spotted Gentry in the corner. He juked a defender, then calmly knocked down a jumper from the wing to even the score at 82. Guidry wristed a pair from the charity stripe to knot the score at 84 with 0:29 left on the Dr. Pepper scoreboard clock.
After Crouch threw the ball away on a miscommunication play, the Lions misused the final twenty-one seconds with uncharacteristic decisions.
Rambo, the team playmaker, chose to give the ball up on the closing sequence. No player in the league possesses his charmed mojo in the clutch.
Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / LR Parkview HS ), a 6'5 sophomore forward, wound up with the ball on the left baseline in the closing six seconds.
Held without a basket in a foul-shortened afternoon, he shunned an open jump shot and drove to the basket instead. The unlikely last-second shooter collided with a defender and was called for a charge as the buzzer sounded.
The game would have to decided in overtime.
In foul trouble early, SAGU’s depth struggled against the Pioneers big men.
The Lions were without their second-leading rebounder and #1 three-point sniper, 6’5 Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Christian-Addison, Ranger College ), who was held out to rest an injury.
When Adoyi, Team Purple’s top interior defender, collected his third personal foul, SAGU was forced to adjust their lineup.
Head Coach Donnie Bostwick actually had better success when he went ‘small’ with an all-guard quintet.
Wayland overcame a 13-12 deficit by scoring 12 of the next 15 points to lead, 24-16. Markus Monroe scored six points on three baskets to spark the rush.
The Lions answered with a hearty flow the remainder of the half. Trifectas by Guidry and Gentry helped start the upsurge.
Walter stroked a pair of short jumpers before Drew Erskine (Houston, Tx / Victoria West HS, Centenary College ) drove into the paint for an eight-footer. He was fouled, then added the ‘and one’ to pull even at 33-33.
Three times in the closing minutes the Purple Pride took a one-point lead before the teams headed to the locker room where they started, a draw at 40.
The second half began just like the first, with SAGU collecting enough fouls to negate their home court advantage. Wayland capitalized on the Lions’ foul-plagued, hands-off policy by dominating the paint.
Adoyi, the hosts top rebounder, and Andre Creer (Ft Worth, Tx / Trimble Tech HS, Angelina College ) would each foul out after only eleven minutes of play.
Four minutes into the second half it appeared the Lions would do as is their custom, find a way to win.
Trailing 45-42, they strung together a pair of three-point plays from Rambo and Guidry and a post-up move by Walter for eight unanswered points.
Creer added a fade-away triple from the wing to extend the run to 11-0 and a 53-45 upper hand.
Walter and Gentry tossed in a bucket apiece as the Pride’s lead rose to 60-51 with 11:38 remaining. A few ill-advised shots prevented SAGU from delivering a double-digit lead and aided the Pioneers in weathering the rally.
WBU appeared more driven down the stretch, evidenced by doubling the Lions on the offensive glass (16-8).
Especially notable was the effort of the 5’10 senior, point guard Payton.
His ability to penetrate and distribute the ball broke down SAGU’s central defense. When he wasn’t dashing and dishing he was making lay-ins.
He played with a freshness and efficiency that kept his teammates involved. His nine rebounds showed just how much he wanted to win.
“Tonight we were outplayed,” admitted Coach Bostwick. “I give credit to Wayland's players and Coach (Matt) Garnett's staff.”
"We will need to improve from here on in or it will be a challenge to sustain a post-season run.”
He said his team allowed WBU to shoot over 50% and outrebounded by 49-29.
Bostwick praised the performance of Payton.
“In particular,” he added, “I give credit to their point guard. He had 24-points, nine boards and nine assists. He stepped up in a big way for them.”
“They took us two times this year and we allowed them to come in on Senior Day and beat us in our backyard. They deserve credit for it.”
He spoke specifically to a few fretful areas of the team’s play.
“For the most part this season, toughness has been our calling card,” he said. “They (WBU) are playing for their post-season lives. We were playing without a purpose. As coach, that is my responsibility. I will do my best to fix that.”
Prior to the game there was a special recognition of five players on Senior Day; Gentry, Rambo, Ben Starks (Austin, Tx / Omaha Bryan HS, Southeastern CC ), Maurice Oglesby (Arlington, Tx / Zion Academy ), and Reid Brunner (Halletsville, Tx / Halletsville HS ).
“I do want to thank my seniors for all they have done for our program. I felt they played hard and tried tonight. That is all I ask for.”
“With Feemster out for a week, we needed other inside players to step up and pick up the slack. Wayland simply dominated us in the paint.
“We will get back to work tomorrow (Sunday evening practice) on solving that problem.”
Rambo and Guidry paced the Lions in scoring with 25 and 23 respectively. Rambo racked up seven assists.
Gentry and Walter netted 16 and 15, with the latter clutching nine rebounds as well as blocking three shots.
After Payton’s industrious game, it was Juhreece Thompson who anchored play in the lane. The 6’6, 265-pounder poured in 20 points and snatched nine rebounds. He made 7-of-8 shots and registered three steals.
Monroe, the Pioneers top scorer, finished with 17 points and five helpers.
The Lions return to action with a non-conference home game with Ecclesia College (Ark). With the lady Lions having the night off, the game will begin at 7:00pm.
The final home game of the season is next Thursday, February 27, when No. 23 St. Gregory’s University (20-7) comes to town.
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