Men's Basketball Schedule Announced
Lions begin 30-game sked in November
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- This is not his first rodeo. New men’s basketball coach Donnie Bostwick has been around the arena a few times over the years.
During four seasons in the Midlands Athletic Conference, his Oklahoma Wesleyan University teams made headlines as a wide-open offense that knocked down three-pointers like a bowling ball does pins. The Eagles rolled through the MAC each year, racking up a 26-8 mark in 2007, followed by 35-2, 30-5 and 29-5 at a school that had lost twenty or more games the previous four campaigns.
What observers also knew about Bostwick’s teams was they played a brand of defense that “got after” the opposition. The Eagles finished in the top seven in the nation in shooting defense in three years and were #15 in the other.
Now that he has ridden in as the new sheriff in town, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University hoopsters, who compete in a bigger, tougher rodeo, need to add more giddy-up on a team that returns their best horses.
The Lions have a history of offensive production, ranking #17 in the nation in points per game (80.4) during last year’s 12-19 season. A very tough team to beat on their home court, SAGU is a common qualifier in the Red River Athletic Conference tournament.
The hopes of moving from pretender to contender is a big challenge for every team and every coach.
High Stakes Corral of Competition
The RRAC has several big name bronco-busters in the NAIA in Texas Wesleyan University (30-4 in 2010-11) and LSU-Shreveport (30-4) and some talented, headline-making wranglers in Our Lady of the Lake University (23-10), Texas College and last year, Paul Quinn College (21-11).
Add to that, the University of St. Thomas, of Houston. New cowpokes in the Red River, the Celts (pronounced Kelts) went 13-14 last year, with eight single-digit setbacks. They ended the year with four consecutive defeats, but posted a 5-3 mark against RRAC teams. They split with both Texas Wesleyan and Our Lady. UST went 5-4 against the league the previous winter.
The RRAC, with 15 total members, thirteen who field men’s basketball teams, is the second largest in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
About four or five teams are ranked nationally each season, and the conference is deep. Two years ago Bacone College won the RRAC tourney, and Langston University has made recent runs at the top. Wiley College always has its corral stocked and SAGU, as recently as 2006, qualified for a berth in the 32-team NAIA national tournament.
The league is blessed with a number of respected, seasoned cowpokes. Marco Borne was named the RRAC Coach of the Year for transforming the Paul Quinn Tigers from 6-22 to 21-11. Terry Waldrop (TWU) and Chad McDowell (LSUS), whose teams won 30 games, were among a select group of nominees for National Coach of the Year.
McDowell was, however, chosen the National Coach of Character Award. This award honors and recognizes a coach who demonstrates methods of teaching character through sport and instills a tradition of athletic and community excellence.
SAGU’s new sked announced
Coach Bostwick completed the 2011-12 bucket list that will see the Lions take on 30 games, half of which will be played in the Sheaffer Center (capacity 2,200).
Southwestern meets 12 conference foes, twice apiece, in home-and-away series. Seven assembled winning records last year and two teams had marks that were just one game shy of .500. Another RR team, Jarvis Christian, was 14-14 before dropping their last four tilts. That’s a tough corral to lasso some tough critters!
The first round against the RRAC has the Lions on the road for clashes against the top three or four teams with trips to Ft. Worth (TWU), Shreveport (LSUS), San Antonio (OLLU) and Tyler (TxC). Those squads come to Buffalo Creek (what Waxahachie means) as the season’s second half heats up!
Cats six-pack in November
The season tips off when SAGU participates in the St. Gregory Classic in Shawnee, Oklahoma, a 203-mile trek. St. Gregory’s University is located 35 miles east of Oklahoma City. There, they will face the SGU Cavaliers (5-21) and the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) Drovers (11-17) during November 4-5.
SAGU plays four more non-conference games that month; the Dallas Christian College Crusaders, Sterling College (21-11) Warriors (Ks), St. Gregory’s again, and the Arlington Baptist College Patriots, the last three at home.
Dallas Christian finished second nationally in the ACCA (Association of Christian College Athletics), dropping the final to Hillsdale College (Ok), 69-60.
Southwestern’s home opener will be on Saturday, Nov. 12, when they host Sterling College.
The Lions have one exhibition match on tap, Nov. 26, at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, an 80-mile drive from Waxahachie. The TSU Texans, an NCAA Division II team, went 24-6 last winter. An additional exhibition game could be added.
In all, SAGU has three home games in November, one in December, six in January and five in February.
For a complete list of the schedule, dates, locations and game times, click on Basketball (M) and scroll down to Schedule.
The Lions are probably the only NAIA school to broadcast their home games on the internet in high definition, produced in the high quality TriCaster studio under SAGU’s Media Services. Director John Cookman and a cast and crew comprised almost entirely of students, will confirm the schedule this fall.
Tentatively, the 11 home games, beginning with Langston on January 7, could begin the SAGU Sports Live schedule. The games can be viewed (at no cost for fans) on computers, laptops, iPhones and some other communication systems.
News and Notes
Southwestern plans to introduce more recruits early in the week. Plus, Coach Bostwick’s initial hire, an assistant coach, will be announced as well.
The team will be presented at Midnight Madness in October. The event that has played to packed crowds in its two years of existence, has yet to be officially slated on the college calendar. A three-point shootout and a dunk tournament have highlighted the Madness in 2009 and 2010.