Samuel Kalwanyi played his best game of the season but Wayland Baptist University fell short in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament title game on Saturday.
Wayland Baptist Pioneers fell to Southwestern Assemblies of God University 90-81 as the Lions claimed the automatic spot to national tournament that goes to the conference tournament champion.
Pioneers who were making their fourth appearance in the SAC tournament title game in the last five years led by as many as 10 points (45-35) in the first half but fell behind for the first time early in the second half after an 8-0 run by SAGU.
The teams went back and forth thereafter and Wayland led 67-66 with just over 7 minutes to play. However, when the fell behind again, the closet they came was 77-78.
Kalwanyi – the SAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year- scored a career-high 27 points and pulled down a career-best 18 rebounds to lead Wayland. The Ugandan center/forward who made the all-tournament team handed out 4 assists and swatted one shot.
“Sammy was really active on the offensive glass. We felt we could take advantage of some things down there with him,” Harrelson said of Kalwanyi’s performance.
Trevonta Robertson ended with 14 points and Tyrone Davis had 13 points for Wayland.
Meanwhile, Cameron Hill team high scored 24 points for SAGU. Joshua Swearingen added 22 points and Joshua Kashila chipped in with 21.
Despite falling short in the bid for an automatic spot, Ty Herralson feels his side will earn the invite to the national tournament.
“I don’t think we have anything to be embarrassed about. We played really well, and it was a good championship game.
“We played really strong basketball down the stretch of the season. We’re one of the hottest teams.”
The national tourney begins March 14 in Kansas City.
Ryan Harris, Texas Wesleyan
Tyrone Davis, Wayland Baptist
Joshua Kashila, Southwestern A.G.
Samuel Kalwanyi, Wayland Baptist
Cameron Hill, Southwestern A.G.