BETHANY, Okla. — Expectations were high for Southern Nazarene when the 2010-11 season started and after seeing the smiles and nets being cut down, one expectation has been met after No. 15 Southern Nazarene claimed the Sooner Athletic Conference Title with a 66-52 win over Northwestern Oklahoma State.
The Crimson Storm (26-7) won the program's third SAC Tournament Crown and won their third straight game in the tournament in convincing fashion.
“It's encouraging that we are playing our best basketball right now,” said SNU Head Coach Adam Bohac. “We're thrilled that we get another week of practice and then get to continue our season. We think we can continue to get better next week and iron out some things and hopefully be hitting on all cylinders as we head to Kansas City.”
SNU had seven players all score at least six points as all seven were only separated by seven points. C.J. Henry led the way for the Storm with a game high 13 points as he went 5-for-10 from the floor and he hit a pair of 3-pointers. He also had six rebounds and three assists. Henry was named the SAC Tournament MVP after he averaged 18.3 points and went 10-for-18 (.556) from 3-point range over the last three days. He also averaged four rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
“We really guarded well this weekend and that get's us out in transition,” said Bohac. “That gave C.J. great looks with guys driving it in transition and him spotting up. When he's shooting like that it spreads the floor and gives everybody more room to operate. We certainly hope he keeps making them.”
Xavier Alexander was just a rebound short of a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. The senior also had four assists, two blocks and a steal.
“Xavier does so many things for us that fans may not understand,” said Bohac. “He solidifies us. His personality this week was great. His energy and toughness permeates all the way through our team. When he's playing like that and playing that hard, we're pretty tough.”
Horace McGloster and Daniel White combined for 19 points off the bench. McGloster went 4-for-6 from the field as he scored 11 points and pulled down five boards. White added eight points and four rebounds. A.J. Thomas was also in double figures with 10 points while Jon West added seven and Jeremy Lightfoot had six.
“The guys were sharing the ball well tonight,” said Bohac. “The way Northwestern guarded us forced us to pass the ball quite a bit. They trap and double you and that leads to a balanced attack when you play them.”
The Crimson Storm broke the game open midway through the first half when Henry broke a 13-13 tie with a trey that sparked a 22-6 run to end the half with a 35-19 lead.
Northwestern scored five straight to open the second half to cut it to 35-24, but SNU answered with a 12-3 run capped by Alexander's first 3-pointer of the year to lead 47-27 with 12:07 left to play.
The Rangers fired back again with a 12-2 run to cut it to 10 at 49-39 with 8:46 left, but that was as close as Northwestern came. McGloster the scored five points in an 11-0 run as SNU took its biggest lead of the game at 60-39 and held off the Rangers from there for the title.
“We finally settled down and made a run late in the first half,” said Bohac. “We sure didn't look poised or composed until about 10 minutes left. After everyone had subbed out and got their legs and caught their breath we played well from that point on.”
It was the first time since 2007 that SNU claimed the SAC Tournament title and was Bohac's first in his three year's as head coach.
The Crimson Storm will now wait and see where they will be seeded when the Buffalo Funds NAIA Men's Basketball National Championship bracket will be released Wednesday.
Southern Nazarene University's mission is to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.
Posted on Mon, March 7, 2011
by Laura Poff filed under