The SAGU Men's Basketball Lions entered Monday night's game as one of five teams looking to grab the final three spots in the Red River Conference tournament.
Another one of those five teams is Bacone College (3-3 conference), who coincidentally was SAGU's (2-7 conference) opponent in the Full Life Center on Monday night.
The Lions had a chance to gain ground on the highest ranked of those five opponents and they did with a 74-71 win.
The Lions out shot and out hustled Bacone for the first nine minutes and when Jeremy Bowman hit a three points, SAGU led 19-11.
Four minutes later, when Brendon Johnson hit a three pointer, SAGU found themselves again in front by eight points, 32-24.
Bacone would rally fast and go on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 34-34 with 12 seconds left in the half.
Then Cainan Drew hit a three pointer to break the tie, but before the half, Bacone would whittle down the score to 37-36; advantage SAGU.
The last 20 minutes of this game featured four ties and eight lead changes as SAGU would try to edge out another critical win.
With 6:14 left in the game Julio Osorio hit one of two free throws to give the Lions a five point, 61-56, lead.
With 3:07 left, Bacone tied the game at 65-65. With one minute left, Osorio hit a lay-up to take a 71-68 lead.
Bacone missed their next three-point attempt and the Lions, on their next possession, turned the ball over.
Bacone then proceeded to hit a three-pointer to again tie the game at 71-71.
On the Lions next possession, SAGU fed the ball down low to Osorio who hit his fourth shot of the night to give SAGU a two point lead, 73-71.
Bacone missed two shots on the free throw line and then sent Jake Sones to line. Sones hit one of two shots to extend the Lions lead to three.
Bacone was not able to hit their last second half-court shot and the Lions held on to another critical win, 74-71.
SAGU now holds a 3-7 conference record and Bacone now falls to 3-4 in conference.
The Lions now join Paul Quinn, Huston-Tillotson, and Bacone as four teams with three wins in conference play.
Texas College is the other the five teams in the hunt with only two conference wins.
Four of these five teams were in action on Monday; Huston-Tillotson was idle.
The key stat from Monday's game came from the free-throw line.
In the second half, SAGU hit 15 of 19 free throws while Bacone managed only 6 of 16 free throws; a major difference in the game.
Osorio again led the Lions in points with 17; hitting nine of 10 shots from the free-throw line.
Canian Drew followed with 15 and Jeremy Bowman found 14 points on the night.
Julio earned his 10th double-double of the season by grabbing 15 rebounds.
This adds to Osorio's conference lead in rebounds and in the double-double category.
The Lion next will travel to second place Houston Baptist on Saturday night. SAGU goes down to Houston in the thick of the race to the tournament.