The Wildcats saw their season opening 10-game road trip reach its end with a 74-47 loss to Towson on Saturday in Baltimore, Md. as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis Mainland Tournament.
ACU fell behind early in the first half and was never able to recover from a 46-25 halftime deficit. The Wildcats held the Tigers to just 28 second-half points, but a physically exhausted ACU team was unable to keep pace as it dropped it third in a row and fell to 2-8.
“The Towson trip was at the very end of a long month,” said Brette Tanner, assistant coach. “Towson is a very good program and we just asked the guys to show that they could compete, which they did for the majority of the game.”
The Wildcats finished with 32 percent shooting from the field and were unable to capitalize on their three-point attempts, sinking just three of 19, all coming in the first half.
“Towson is a great team, they’re tough and play hard,” junior guard Harrison Hawkins said. “There were a couple times that we made runs and tried to get back, but we just couldn’t get close enough.”
Junior forward Jacob Lancaster led the way for ACU as he finished with his best game of the season. The Colorado native contributed 15 points on 7-16 shooting with eight rebounds and a blocked shot. Junior guard LaDarrien Williams finished with a well-rounded game of seven points, five assists and three steals. Hawkins added nine points with four free throw makes in as many attempts.
“Our starters have done a really good job of holding their own with some of the best teams in the country, but they can’t sustain that for 40 minutes,” Tanner said. “The guys that come off the bench have got to do a better job of coming in and making sure we don’t lose ground.”
The team returned home for their first game in Moody Coliseum against Hillsdale Baptist on Tuesday. The game was the first of the Wildcats four game home stand and part of ACU’s third annual Christmas Slam, which featured the women’s team taking on Texas A&M Commerce before the men’s game.
“I think this team is going to do very well from this point forward,” Tanner said. “We are going to be playing games that are at our level with a lot of them being at home. We haven’t had that luxury of rest this season so it’ll be great to have that. As a coaching staff, we are anxious to see how the guys handle things from this point forward.”
The Wildcats will look towards their calling card of tough, defensive pressure in their next games at home. Including Hillsdale Baptist, ACU will play eight of their next 10 games at home in Moody.
“Our goal is to really see where we truly are at, defensively,” Tanner said. “Can we hold a team in the low 60s? It has been hard to gauge that with our schedule but now we can truly see where we are.”
The Wildcats will face Open Bible College at 6 p.m. on Friday in Moody Coliseum.