SAGU builds 11-point lead, hold off John Brown
Rambo, Gentry score 31 and 20, Lions finish at 26-4
SAC Tournament this week; Pride plays Thursday night
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SILOAM SPRINGS, Arkansas -- No. 5 ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University grabbed the lead late in the first half on a three-pointer from the right corner by Andre Creer (Ft Worth, Tx / Trimble Tech HS, Angelina College ) and never lost it in a 74-68 triumph over John Brown University.
Creer’s dagger was set up by a pass from Drew Erskine (Houston, Tx / Victoria West HS, Centenary College ) and gave the Lions a 29-28 halftime advantage. It capped a 17-6 surge by the visiting Lions and overcame an impressive start by the Golden Eagles.
The second half witnessed another similar run, 13-2, that provided SAGU (26-4 / 17-3 in SAC) with a 56-45 upper hand with 9:17 remaining. They would not be headed again, though the hosts managed to cut their deficit to three in the final minute.
Baskets by Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS ) and Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) twice gave the team 10-point leads with less than four minutes to play on the Bill George Arena scoreboard.
John Brown (20-10 / 10-10 in SAC), as they had all afternoon, battled back. Trailing 63-53 at the 3:03 mark, they refused to die.
Back-to-back Gilbert Gyamfi baskets pulled JBU to within 65-62. Forty-four seconds awaited.
The Lions would need only one.
During a timeout Head Coach Donnie Bostwick diagrammed a play that would prove highly effective. And quick. It would also decide the outcome.
Walter, inbounding against full court pressure, fired the ball the length of the court to Rambo. The senior guard, who used a frontcourt pic by Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) to break free, caught the ball in front of the basket and scored a layup without the need for a dribble.
Gyamfi split a pair of free throws at 0:36, before the Eagles fouled Gentry eight seconds later. The senior calmly netted a pair of foul shots to boost the margin to 69-63.
Gentry sank another pair, as did Rambo, before Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian ) made one-of-two to salt away the six-point victory.
The three guards collaborated for 60 of the team’s points, making 21-of-40 shots, including 9-of-17 from beyond the arc. They also combined to sink 9-of-11 free throws while registering eight assists and as many steals.
Their strong play compensated for the limited access of Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / LR Parkview HS ) and Walter, who were saddled with foul trouble.
As a result, JBU held a slight edge on the boards, 38-36. They were able to hold the Lions to seven offensive rebounds, less than half of their league-leading average.
SAGU took good care of the ball, curbing turnovers (11) and making 43% of their shots. In the pivotal second half they converted 53% of their 30 shots.
Swishing five-of-ten from long distance after intermission was huge for Team Purple. They made 11 for the game, four more than JBU.
The Lions were good on nine of twelve free throws. They had only three attempts in the first thirty-nine minutes.
After going 9-of-11 in the first half, JBU could manage just 4-of-9 in the second.
SAGU was paced by their three backcourt bucketeers in Rambo, Gentry and Guidry.
Rambo led with 31, draining 12-of-24 shots, including four triples. His six rebounds were almost as notable as his six steals. He also chipped in four assists.
It was his fifth game with 30 or more points and fifteenth in 22 games when he score 20 or more.
Gentry, whose oomph propels the team on defense, bagged his fifth twenty-point game with an even 20.
He made half of his 12 shots and half of his six three-point tries, while getting seven boards, two assists and two steals.
Guidry provided tonic off the bench with nine points. He ripped the nets on 3-of-4 shots including both of his long-distant launches.
Walter had five points and eight boards while Adoyi scored only two before fouling out. He gripped five caroms.
Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Chr-Addison, Ranger College ) accounted for four points and six boards.
The Golden Eagles placed four in double figures; Gyamfi and Kofi Josephs each had 17, Quinton Smith 13, and Max Hopfgartner 12.
Kurtis Phillips had a double-double with 10 assists and 10 rebounds.
Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament this week
SAGU enters the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament as the #1 seed. It will be held in Shawnee, Oklahoma (227 miles north of Waxahachie) during March 5-8.
The Lions will play on Thursday at 6:15pm against Wednesday’s winner between Texas Wesleyan University and Oklahoma Baptist University. That game is slated for a 6:00pm start.
Should SAGU win on Thursday, they would advance to Friday’s 6:00pm semi-final against either Oklahoma City University or Mid-America Christian University.
The two survivors meet in Saturday’s 7:00pm championship.
All games will be available on-line via pay-per-view livestream video. Details will be posted here on Wednesday in the tournament preview.
The full tournament schedule: http://www.soonerathletic.org/article/2632.php
On Monday, March 3, the SAC will announce its All-Conference team at noon.
All NAIA's Conference Tourneys
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The Top 25 Coaches Poll is set to be released on Tuesday afternoon. Here is how the top teams did this past week:
Rank Team (Last Week’s Record) Current Record
1 Cal State San Marcos (27-1) 28-1
2 Pikeville (Ky) (25-2) 26-2
3 William Carey (Miss) (22-2) 24-2
4 Columbia (Mo) (26-2) 28-2
5 SAGU (Tex) (23-4) 26-4
6 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn) (24-3) 25-4
7 Emmanuel College (Ga) (24-2) 27-2
8 Talladega College (Ala) (23-5) 25-5
9 Benedictine (Kan) (20-6) 21-7
10 Vanguard (Cal) (22-5) 24-6
11 Rocky Mountain (Mont) (21-7) 21-7
12 LSU Shreveport (La) (19-6) 21-7
13 Xavier (La) (20-7) 22-7
14 Georgetown (Ky) (20-8) 20-9
15 Culver-Stockton (Mo) (20-6) 22-6
16 Arizona Christian (21-6) 23-6
17 Oklahoma City (16-9) 16-11
18 Montana State-Northern (23-7) 23-8
19 Evangel (Mo) (20-8) 21-9
20 St. Gregory's (Ok) (20-7) 21-8
21 Westminster (Utah) (18-11) 18-11
22 Our Lady of the Lake (Tex) (19-8) 20-10
23 St. Catharine (Ky) (17-9) 17-10
24 Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill) (20-7) 22-7
25 Biola (Cal) (16-12) 16-14
The NAIA's National Championship will take place in Kansas City, Mo., March 19-25.