After a big home win over Lamar on Wednesday, the Wildcats took to the road and ran into one of the hottest teams in the conference in Sam Houston State, resulting in an 84-77 loss.
Trailing by nine at halftime and for most of the game, ACU pulled within one at 62-61 on a triple from graduate transfer Tevin Foster. Foster finished the game with a team-high 17 points.
But over the final 8:06 of the game, the Bearkats outscored the Wildcats 22-16 to secure the seven-point win and move into a tie for third in the conference standings.
“They hit some tough shots down the stretch, we just could never get over that second to gain the lead,” Foster said.
Meanwhile, ACU remains in tie for sixth place, but holds the tiebreaker over both Lamar and Central Arkansas, who each join the Wildcats at 6-5 in Southland play.
Despite the loss, the team can take positives in juniors Jaylen Franklin and Jaren Lewis, as each eclipsed 1000 career points, becoming the first and second Wildcats to do so at the Div. 1 level.
“For me and Jaylen, we really came in here as freshman, not really thinking about that at all, but it’s really important to us, it’s really special, and we owe it to our teammates for setting us up with good looks and everything and our coaches for putting us in the best position to succeed,” Lewis said.
Lewis finished the game with 12 points, giving him 1,0001 for his career, and Franklin recorded 15 points putting him at 1,014 points all-time. Sophomores Jalone Friday and Payten Ricks rounded out the Wildcats who scored in double figures, with 15 and 11 respectively. Although all five starters scored in double figures, the Wildcat bench mustered just seven total points.
ACU will look to bounce back when it hosts first place Nicholls State on Wednesday. The Colonels enter the game at 8-2 in conference play and tote the highest scoring offense in the league.
“Our guys have been resilient all year; we’re looking forward to getting back home,” Head Coach Joe Golding said. “We’ve been good all year about bouncing back. I think one time this year we’ve lost two in a row, besides that we’ve always bounced back. Our group is really good when they have a chip on their shoulder, and their backs against the wall type mentality.”
A key for the Wildcats will be slowing down Roddy Peters and Tevon Saddler, two of the top-six scorers in the conference. Peters averages just under 20 points per contest, and Saddler comes in at 16.2 points per game.
This game also pits two of the top three most efficient shooting teams in the conference, with Nicholls converting at a .484 field goal percentage and ACU at .481.
The Wildcats are 8-3 in the confines of Moody Coliseum this season and 3-2 since conference started. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be heard on 98.1 FM, The Ticket.