The senior backcourt tandem of Dominique Rambo and Caleb Gentry came to a victorious close as No. 5 Southwestern Assemblies of God University bested No. 20 St. Gregory’s University, 77-61, on Thursday before a packed Sheaffer Center.
They closed out their home career with another standard effort; defense first, followed by an offense that cashed in.
No one does it better than ‘Bo and Hondo.
After a tight first half the Lions, now 25-4 in all games and 16-3 against their Sooner Athletic Conference foes, took charge. Trailing 32-31, the Lions erupted during an 18-1 surge to sway the momentum firmly in their hands.
The Cavaliers would trail by 20 or more for much of the second half and never drew closer than 13 the rest of the way. SAGU’s largest lead, 23 points, occurred three times down the stretch, first at 73-50 with 4:37 to go.
After trying only eight triples in the first stanza, SAGU made good on 9-of-16 in the second to finish with 11 threes.
Gentry drained all three of his attempts while Caleb Feemster, back from a 10-day rest, came off the bench to stroke two of three trifectas. Gentry also registered four assists.
Rambo, who leads all scorers in the Sooner Athletic Conference with a 23.4 points per game average, got the style points.
He swished five of eight from downtown and finished by ripping the nets in 11 of 17 attempts.
His 28 points revealed a variety of circus shots in the paint, a slashing drive that ended with a soft kiss off the glass and enough long balls to stretch the Cavs’ defense.
Rambo has surpassed 20 points in 14 of his 21 games, eclipsing 30 four times.
As much as his flair lit up the home crowd, this game was clearly won on the defensive end.
St. Gregory’s, enjoying their best season in years under Head Coach John Martin, entered the game as the best shooting team (.483) in the SAC. They average almost 88 points per outing.
Contesting everything except the National Anthem, which was sung by the Blue Grass quartet – the Sherman Mountain Boys, the Lions unleashed an all-out effort in the second half.
After holding St. Greg’s to 41 percent shooting prior to recess, the second half witnessed an amped up version of high velocity pressure. Halfcourt traps and a heavy dose of hustle the Lions allowed only nine-of-28 shots to pass through the cylinder.
The results were impressive.
The Cavaliers starters committed more turnovers (13) than they made baskets (11-of-35). None of them scored more than eight.
Their high-scoring guards, Marty Wilkerson and T.J. Thornton, combined to go five-of-20, scoring eight and five points respectively.
Three players came off the bench to tally 10 points each: Trey Jones, Aaron Mazibuko and Brock Vorwald.
St. Gregory’s stayed in the game with hearty play and by forcing 22 SAGU turnovers. They also benefitted from 23 fouls cited against the hosts.
The Lions, however, dominated the boards, 45-29, effectively limiting transition baskets. Two players in purple and gold wiped the window clean.
Sophomore Emmanuel Adoyi and junior Jonathan Walter snatched errant shots like lions do wildebeests. Adoyi grabbed 13 rebounds while Walter laid claim to nine. Each was credited with three assists as well.
Head coach Donnie Bostwick, who record at SAGU improved to 85-20, emptied the entire 17-man bench.
He allowed the crowd to recognize the seniors; Rambo, Gentry, Mo Oglesby, Ben Starks and Reid Brunner.
The first half saw six lead changes and five ties. SAGU led once by six, 11-5, before St. Greg’s regrouped during a 13-4 run for their largest lead at 18-15.
The 61 points by the Cavs was seven fewer than their previous low (68 at Texas Wesleyan) and was 26 below their season average.
With the victory, SAGU swept the two meetings this season. A month ago in Shawnee, Oklahoma they won 91-83. In that game the Rambo-Gentry twosome edged Wilkerson and Thornton, 39-35.
Coach Bostwick made a pre-game tribute to Raymond and Lydia Mayfield. The SAGU alumni attend most every game, including those on the road.
They serve as pastors as well as Lions roadies. A year ago the couple was in Kansas City when the team played at the NAIA nationals.