The men’s basketball team will look to improve its 1-7 Southland Conference record at home this Saturday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.
ACU will face TAM-CC for the first time. The Wildcats, 7-15 and 1-7 in conference, just finished playing against Houston Baptist, while the Islanders, 10-13, 7-3, conclude their four-game road trip in Abilene before heading back to the coast.
The Wildcats enter the game averaging a little under 70 points per contest and are led by sophomore guard Parker Wentz (11.1 ppg) and sophomore forward Austin Cooke from Scottsdale, Ariz. (6.8 ppg. and 5.8 reb.). Turnovers have been a hindrance for ACU; the team has committed more than 120 turnovers and just 55 assists over the past six games.
TAM-CC comes into the game as the second highest-rated defense in the Southland Conference, giving up just 69 points a game, and is also 4-2 for the past six games. The Islanders have held opponents to 44 percent shooting and 33 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
“Going up against one of the best defenses, we’re going to have to change things up and be creative,” assistant coach Brette Tanner said. “Offense is something we’ve talked a lot about so far anyway, so we’re just going to have to maybe add a few sets and give them multiple looks at us.”
As a team, though, they score 68.8 points a game, giving them a scoring margin of a microscopic -0.2. Junior guard John Jordan leads the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game, ninth in the Southland, and 4.8 assists a game, second in the conference.
“We’ve got a few things in our back pocket that we’re going to throw at him,” Tanner said. “If we defend well as a team, then it doesn’t matter if he goes off for a career night.”
With the absence of junior guards Harrison Hawkins and LaDarrien Williams, ACU has struggled to find a way to make up for its offensive productivity and efficiency. Junior guards Julian Edmonson and Rafael Farley have played well in their absence. Edmonson has averaged 13.5 points per contest since the loss of Hawkins and Williams, while Farley has stepped up late with solid games, including a season-high of 18 points against Northwestern State last weekend.
The Wildcats will head to San Antonio to take on the University of Incarnate Word on Thursday. After that, they will return home for a three-game home stand. The game against TAM-CC will be locally broadcasted on 98.1 FM the Ticket.
“It’s important that we be sure to compete in every game we play this year, especially home games,” Tanner said. “We need to give ourselves the ability to win games and give our fans something to cheer about.”
The first 250 fans to arrive at the game will receive a “pink out” T-shirt to help raise awareness for breast cancer.