Fresh off a convincing 112-62 win over Howard Payne on Thursday night, the Wildcats return to action Monday against Lipscomb University for the first time since 1959.
Despite trailing HPU 22-17 with 10 minutes to go in the first half on Thursday, the Wildcats outscored the Yellow Jackets 40-13 to build a 62-30 lead heading into halftime.
After the win, head coach Joe Golding said his team did things right for the majority of the game, but these early games of the season are about getting better and learning about your team.
“You’ve got to play the game the right way. There is a right way to play the game and a wrong way to play the game,” Golding said. “We’ve got some guys that are fighting for minutes, we got some competition in there and those guys need to go out and perform and do their job to build trust.”
ACU is likely to get a higher level of play on Monday night from a Lipscomb team that finished 20-13 last season and returns an early season candidate for mid-major player of the year in Garrison Matthews. Matthews is averaging 23.5 points per game and shooting just under 50 percent from the floor through four games this season.
While the Wildcats will continue to rely heavily on its trio of J-named scorers in Jalone Friday, Jaren Lewis and Jaylen Franklin, ACU saw a very balanced score sheet against HPU with eight players reaching double figures. Lewis finished Thursday’s game with 15 and Friday had 14, but senior Isaiah Tripp also added 14 on 5-of-6 shooting, giving ACU the depth Golding has talked about.
“We got a lot of guys back, but we’re still a different team,” Golding said. “We’re doing somethings different this year than last year. We have a lot of guys that have developed in our program, we have a lot of guys that can score it, and we got to get a good feel for our team on some of that stuff.”
After starting the season 2-0, the Bison are coming off back-to-back losses against Alabama and the University of Texas. The Wildcats enter the game 2-1 after a two victories at home and a 83-69 loss to Arkansas State on the road. This is the eighth time the two teams will face off, ACU leading the series 5-2. This is also the first of a home and home series that will finish up in Nashville, Tennessee Dec. 17.