The men’s basketball team went 1-1 over the Thanksgiving break to move to 2-3 on the young season.
After falling to Duquesne at home, ACU took on Jarvis Christian College and came away with a 91-65 win to move back to .500. The Wildcats then traveled to Riverside, California, to play in the team’s first game on the West Coast since 1987. The men lost, 76-56, due to just 36 percent shooting from the field.
Four Wildcats scored in double digits on the team’s way to a 91-65 win. Senior guard Harrison Hawkins led ACU in scoring with 14 points and was 3-6 from beyond the arc. Junior Austin Cooke and sophomore Michael Grant put in 13 points each on a combined 9-17 shooting. Freshman big man Christian Albright was one board shy of a double-double, turning in 11 points and nine rebounds.
“I thought the second half we did a better job of attacking at the rim, getting on the offensive glass and doing some better things than we did in the first half,” said Joe Golding, head coach.
Jarvis Christian committed 30 turnovers on the game and only made 20 field goals for the game, while junior Parker Wentz got into foul-trouble and was limited to just five points on 2-8 shooting, but the Wildcats did record 13 steals.
The Wildcats led 37-27 at halftime and never looked back. ACU went on to outscore Jarvis Christian 54-38 in the second half, handing the Christian college its sixth loss of the season. With many new faces and it still being early in the season, finding roles for players and an overall team identity is something Golding and his staff have continued to work on.
“We’re still trying to work on rotation, still working on minutes, especially our younger guys,” Golding said. “We gave both Drake and Tripp 15 minutes against Jarvis and then K.J. got 18 minutes, so we’re still working on where they fit it and developing them.”
Four days later, the Wildcats made their first trip to California in more than 25 years to play UC Riverside in the SRC arena in Riverside. For Hawkins, who lived in Long Beach, it was a homecoming and a chance for his family to see him play.
Wentz bounced back for 15 points on 5-6 from the field, 2-3 from three and 3-4 from the free throw line. Senior LaDarrien Williams chipped in 13 points. The Wildcats got roughed up on the glass, as the team was outrebounded 47-21. No Wildcats had more than four rebounds.
The Wildcats never led in the game and only scored 22 points in the first half, making just six shots on 25 attempts.
Riverside never found trouble scoring, as they finished with six players in double digits. Their starters scored 63 of the team’s 76 points.
“In the first half against Jarvis Christian, I was very disappointed with our energy level, but we kicked it up in the second half and we also played hard against Riverside,” Golding said. “They’re a good team and gave us a good look at some things we need to improve on.”
The Wildcats will play Sacramento State Thursday in Moody Coliseum and will look for win number three on the year while Sacramento State comes in with a four-game winning streak. The game will serve as the 2014 ACU Christmas Slam game put on by the Students’ Association.