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Twenty-four lead changes before SAGU seizes control, wins 91-83

Walter (29-pts), Rambo (22), Gentry (17) lead Lions to 10th straight win

walter-jumper-stgBox Score, Game Play-by-Play and Standings listed below

SHAWNEE, Oklahoma  --  No. 2 ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University used scoring runs of 8-0 and 7-0 in the final seven minutes to outlast No. 11 St. Gregory’s University, 91-83, at the W.P. Wood Fieldhouse.

Now 15-1 overall with their tenth straight win, the Lions upped their Sooner Athletic Conference mark to 8-0.

St. Greg’s dropped to 13-3 and 4-3 in league action. It was their first home loss of the season.

SAGU, who won their first 14 road games last season, have lost only at then No. 2 ranked LSU-Shreveport (now 10-5).

The high-scoring Cavaliers, whose norm is over 90 points per game, were a formidable challenge on the road. They make over 51% of their shots.

SAGU entered the game with the SAC’s best field goal percentage on defense as well as leading the conference in scoring defense. They would be stretched from the outset.

Playing their eighth game in 17 days didn’t help.

The game had more lead changes than an Agatha Christie novel.

The leader on the scoreboard switched twenty-four times, 15 after halftime. It was knotted nine times.

The Lions stopped the carousel when senior Caleb Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) wristed a pair from the foul line to take the lead for good, 71-70, with 7:17 to play. It sparked an 8-0 run.

St. Gregory’s swash buckled their way back to within 81-79 on a Marty Wilkerson deuce at the 2:49 mark.

Unrelenting, the Lions’ Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS ) spotted junior Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Chr-Addison, Ranger College ) outside the arc. Putting aside a cold night from long distance, he ripped the nets to go up 84-79.

StG’s Richard Shields netted two free throws (1:49 left) before senior Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Chr CH, Ok Wesleyan Univ ) shut the door by scoring two buckets and adding a point from the charity stripe.

Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / LR Parkview HS ) tossed in two more free throws to cap a string of seven unanswered points and a 91-81 upper hand.

In the final seven minutes the Lions made eight of eleven from the field and 5-of-6 foul shots.

Meanwhile, the Cavs missed three free throws and a shot and then turned the ball over. That hiccup proved to be the death knell.

The Purple Pride would separate them from the ball again and Walter would block a three-pointer as SAGU delivered in the clutch.

The hosts had a lone basket in the final 3:29 of the game.

Head Coach Donnie Bostwick summed up the game; “Tonight was a match of two good teams who mirror each other in many ways. We were able to make a stand the last seven minutes of the game to get a hard-earned road win.”

He described the back-and-forth nature of the game as two great heavyweight boxers battling in the ring.

“We really executed and played off of each other well late in the game,” he pointed out. “The guys were making the extra pass or were getting the ball to the hot hand. That was the key to winning tonight's game.”

“I’m so proud of our unselfish play and how we pulled together when it counted.”

While Rambo, Walter and Feemster struggled a bit in the first half, the unremitting Gentry carried the team.

The Cavs were hot and had a 25-18 advantage on the boards in the first stanza. They also did a masterful job in keeping SAGU away from the glass.

Offensive rebounds for Team Purp were as rare as Sahara rain.

Holding Rambo to five first half points was a tribute to the St. Greg’s defense.

The Lions trailed 34-26 on the strength of Jaron Vierra and Wilkerson’s scoring.

SAGU, as they would do late in the second, rallied to within 43-42 at recess.

The 6-foot-7 Vierra had 15 points two days after canning 31 against Northwood University.

He was shutout in the second half.

That’s when Walter and Rambo heated up as an indomitable duo. Their collaborative play resulted in 35 of the team’s 49 points after halftime.

Rambo put the pedal to the metal on both ends of the hardwood.

The NAIA’s steals leader last season swiped the ball eight times on Saturday. He grabbed seven rebounds, racked up five assists and finished with 22 points.

Walter was as smooth and effective as a bear trap, especially when the team needed a basket. He scored four points during the 8-0 run that witnessed the team seize control.

The 6’4 guard was credited with 29 points. He drained 11-of-18 shots, three trifectas and all four of his free throws. The junior also grabbed seven rebounds and had three assists.

Gentry ended with 17 points as he hit 5-of-9 attempts and registered four assists.

Feemster added a dozen points while Adoyi (pronounced like ‘a-TOY) scored nine and reeled in nine caroms.

SAGU finally caught St. Gregory’s in total rebounds, 39-39, and even owned a 12-9 margin in offensive boards.

The Lions also limited their turnovers to just eight, half of the Cavs’ total.

Wilkerson, the SAC’s top scorer at 23.8ppg, tossed in five-of-nine triples in a 23 point effort. Josiah Campbell (12) and Vierra (11) were solid on the boards.

Giving praise where it is due

Coach Bostwick praised the second five and the bench for their valued synergy.

“It takes every player and member of our staff to win night in night out,” he acknowledged. “Our goal is to worship God with our effort and let Him shine through our team on the floor.”

“The Lord gives us strength when we are weary, takes away all fear in the heat of the battle, and deserves all the Glory for our success.”

“We praise God for helping get us to this point in our journey - healthy and on track,” he continued. “But we have a ton of basketball to play (14 games; seven at home), beginning with a hot Northwood bunch on Tuesday.”

SAGU plays in nearby Cedar Hill on Tuesday

True. The Lions next game is January 21 when they make a 26 mile trek to Cedar Hill to face Northwood University.

Tip-off is at 8:00pm (CST).

The Knights have won three in a row. They edged St. Gregory’s, 110-107 in overtime on Thursday, and John Brown University, 90-72 on Saturday afternoon.

Northwood does not provide livestream video or LiveStats.

Lions fans are urged to attend the game (1231 E. Pleasant Run Road, Cedar Hill 75104) at Nutting Arena on the campus of Trinity Christian School.

It is Rambo’s alma mater.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at or at 469-658-2847.

Special ThanksThe photos in this article were made possible through Brad Collins, the Sports Information Director at St. Gregory's University.

Box Score:
(Click on the split blue box in the upper right corner for an account of the game’s play-by-play)

SAC Standings

National Top 25 Coaches Poll:   The next poll will be announced on Tuesday afternoon. Four teams in the Sooner Athletic Conference are currently rankings, though several others have joined the NAIA's most recognized rating of teams.

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