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Lions gear-up for key games on Thurday and Saturday

Plus: A report on SAGU's sister schools

Entire Top 25 Poll:

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  A second loss in their last five games has dropped Southwestern Assemblies of God University from No. 1 in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll to No. 5 in today’s just announced rankings. They were at No. 4 a week ago.

The Lions came up short to the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, 88-80, last Thursday in Chickasha, Ok. A night in which a red-hot Drovers team made 54% of their attempts was too much for SAGU.

Team Purple did manage to lead at various times. A 63-58 lead by the Lions was negated during a 12-0 run by USAO.

SAGU bounced back with a 77-74 triumph over Texas Wesleyan University on Saturday that improved the Pride to 20-3 for the season. Their 12-2 mark in the Sooner Athletic Conference is two games ahead of No. 14 Mid-America Christian University (14-6 / 10-4 in SAC).

The Lions host Oklahoma Baptist University at 8:00pm (CST) on Thursday. The Bison were the preseason pick to win the conference. Then, on Saturday, SAGU travels to Oklahoma City to meet MACU at 5:00pm.

SAGU's consistency was noted in the NAIA’s press release today. The Lions have now been ranked in the Top 5 in all eight polls this season.

Six different teams have appeared at No. 1: Cal State - San Marcos (25-1), Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn) (20-1), SAGU (20-3), University of Pikeville (Ky) (21-2), Georgetown College (Ky) (18-6) and Columbia College (Mo) (22-2).

Coincidentally, SAGU was 21-2 at this time last winter. They finished at 33-5.

The CSSM Cougars, an NAIA Independent, went 4-0 last week to retain their hold of the top spot. They’re riding a 16-game streak without a loss.

Pikeville, winners of seven straight, are No. 2. The Bears lead the same Mid-South Conference that includes Georgetown.

No. 3 Freed-Hardeman, who is located near Jackson, Tenn., won twice last week. Their only loss came on a long three-pointer at the buzzer the week before. The Lions are from the American Midwest Conference.

Surpassing SAGU this week is William Carey University (Miss). The No. 4 Crusaders are leading the Southern States Athletic Conference. They have won their past 11 contests.

SAGU lost 12 voting points and fell one place to No. 5, which is where they began the season. Their 218 points are seven more than Columbia.

The Cougars have taken six straight since falling to Freed-Hardeman on the road three weeks ago. They are 13-1 in the AMC. FHU (13-0) has a half game lead. The two meet in Columbia, Mo. on Feb. 22.

Also in this week’s poll is SAC member St. Gregory’s University (Ok). The Cavaliers moved up to No. 21 from No. 24. Oklahoma City University (12-8), winners of 4-of-6, appears at No. 27.

Sister School Update: Vanguard, Evangel, Southeastern

Two sister schools within the Assemblies of God are ranked. Vanguard University (Cal) is at No. 9. The Lions are 20-3.

Evangel University (Mo) stumbled from No. 9 to No. 17. The Crusaders (18-6), with six consecutive 20+ win seasons, lost twice at home last week; in overtime and by one point.

Southeastern University (Fla), who are in the NAIA's Division II, jumped from No. 25 up to No. 18. The Fire is 20-4.

They went 3-0 last week with a pair of two-point triumphs and an 80-73 home win over Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Fla) (21-5).

The visiting Eagles shot 52% from the field but doubled SEU in fouls (24-12). It sent the Flame to the line 33 times, where they converted 24. In comparison, Embry-Riddle sank 9-of-12 free throws.

Lions Schedule: Final 3 Weeks

With three weeks remaining, SAGU has seven games left. Six of their dates involve foes from the Sooner Athletic Conference. Of those, four are at home.

Their itinerary consists of:
Feb. 13 / Thurs               Oklahoma Baptist (12-12) 8:00 PM
Feb. 15 / Sat                   @ Mid-America Christian (14-6) 5:00 PM
Feb. 18 / Tue                   Northwood Univ (5-14) 8:00 PM
Feb. 22 / Sat                    Wayland Baptist (16-8) 3:00 PM
Feb. 24 / Mon                   Ecclesia College* (6-14) 7:00 PM
Feb. 27 / Thu                    St. Gregory’s (17-5) 8:00 PM  (Senior Day)
Mar. 1 / Sat @                  John Brown (15-9) 3:00 PM
*Non-Conference Game

It is too early to consider a magic number that would clinch the SAC title.

All eleven teams in the league will enter the SAC tournament. It will take place during March 5-8 in Shawnee, Ok. Oklahoma Baptist University serves as host.

All games will be available on pay-per-view video.

A year ago the No. 7 team, Oklahoma City University, stunned the field by winning three straight to qualify for the NAIA tourney.

Thirty-two teams will compete for the NAIA National Championship in Kansas City, Mo. That event is set for March 19-25.

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

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