Alva Review-Courier -

SNU Grinds Out Win over Ouachita to Move to 4-1 in GAC


January 4, 2019

BETHANY - On a night where No. 19/22 Southern Nazarene only shot 41% from the field, 16% from deep, and 68% from the charity stripe, the Crimson Storm got a returning starter back, an unlikely scoring hero, and tough defense to grind out a gritty 64-58 win over Ouachita on Thursday night.

SNU held the Tigers to 44% shooting from the field despite shooting 40% from deep. SNU forced 12 Tiger turnovers to only nine on the night, with four coming in the first four minutes. The Crimson Storm held a 40-31 advantage on the boards and had 12 assists. SNU also got 34 points in the paint, 16 off its bench, 16 points off turnovers, and 15 second chance points.

The Crimson Storm got a boost from the introduction of the starting lineups as senior Quaylon Newton returned from injury and made his 2018-19 debut. The little jolt sparked SNU to a 7-2 lead in the first two minutes of play as Micah Speight and Noah Starkey each got layups to fall while Jhonathan Dunn knocked down a trey.

As things settled in, Ouachita used suffocating defense to put together a 13-4 run throughout the next eight minutes, opening up a 15-11 lead at the 10 minutes mark of the first half. Southern Nazarene responded with a 12-0 run over the next five minutes as their offense found a groove as they got to the charity stripe and knocked down their free throws, going 8-for-8 during the run.

The Tigers got some long balls to fall and closed the gap to three. After a jumper from Logan Hicks, Ouachita got a monster dunk and trailed 27-24 with 2:16 to play, looking to take some momentum before the half. Johnson and Dunn responded out of the timeout with back-to-back tough finishes at the rim while Starkey added a made free throw to push it back to eight.

Ouachita got a bucket to fall before the break, but SNU took a 32-26 lead into half.

The first five minutes of the second half was a grind for both teams, but Ouachita began to make some shots as they closed the gap to 40-39 with 13:12 to play. Hicks responded with a huge 3-pointer from close to 30 feet as the shot clock expired to keep SNU ahead. He would follow that with a beautiful assist to Ashton Charles on the next possession, resulting in a dunk and a 45-39 lead.

The Tigers closed it back down to three, but Johnson began to takeover, getting a steal and assist on a fastbreak to RJ Palmer and following that up with a pull-up 3-pointer in transition to push the lead to 51-43. Dunn followed that with a layup on the next possession and SNU held a 53-43 lead with eight to play.

A steal and lay in by Speight got the lead to its highest at 11, but Ouachita scored the next five points to pull within six with under five minutes to play.

SNU used tenacious defense and rebounding down the stretch and got jumpers from Starkey and Dunn to fall to lead 62-53 late in the contest. The Tigers got it down to four with 12 seconds to play, but it would not be enough as Dunn free throws put the game away and gave the Crimson Storm the win.

With the win, Southern Nazarene has now won 22 straight games in the Sawyer Center, the second most in school history (26).

Starkey finished with 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting to go with eight boards and three blocks. Dunn added 15 points and a pair of steals while Johnson was the unexpected offensive hero, scoring 11 points on 4 of 4 shooting to go with three steals and two assists. Speight, Hicks, and Palmer all scored five points. Newton did not score in his first game back, but had six boards to go with two assists and a block in 21 minutes played.

Matt Stanley led Ouachita off the bench with 14 points while Eric Brown added 12. Grant Jones had 10 as well. SNU held leading scorer Mahlon Martin to 3 of 11 shooting and seven points.

The Crimson Storm move to 11-2 overall and 4-1 in the GAC. They will look to carry that momentum over to Saturday as they welcome in Henderson State for a 3 p.m. tip-off inside Sawyer.


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