By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
From Dec. 16 to Jan. 9, the men’s basketball team seemed to be on top of the world, winning seven consecutive games, posting a 9-3 record.
Since then, the Wildcats, 11-10 overall and 2-5 in Lone Star Conference play, have crashed back to earth, losing seven of their last nine games. They now face the possibility of missing the LSC postseason tournament for the fourth straight year.
Junior guard Rodney Lee said first-year coach Klint Pleasant isn’t giving up hope for an ACU postseason run.
“Coach stays positive the whole time and tells people not to get down,” said Lee, who is second in the LSC scoring 19.5 points a game. “I know that after those couple of losses, the thing is that we need to win games.”
Revenge should be a factor in the season’s remaining games, as the Wildcats have already lost four games this season to their next five opponents. ACU took on Texas A&M-Kingsville for the second time in less than a week Thursday night, trying to keep from falling sole possession of the last place in the LSC South Division. Results were unavailable at press time.
Junior guard Ryan Coleman said ACU’s next opponent, Texas A&M-Commerce, is similar to the Wildcats approach on the court.
“They like to push the ball,” said Coleman, who has started 20 of 21 games this season and is averaging 6.8 points a game. “Our main focus is to get back [on defense] and keep them from getting easy baskets.”
The Lions, 16-6 overall and 6-4 in conference play, come to Moody Coliseum to take on the Wildcats in LSC South Division action 4 p.m. Saturday. Previously, ACU dropped a Feb. 6 road game to the Lions, 74-68. Senior forward Micah Reed leads the Lions at 18.9 points and 7.9 rebounds a game.
Coleman said he has changed his approach to basketball since the arrival of Pleasant this season.
“He really emphasized hard work,” Coleman said. “The better defense you play, the more you play. Coach cares about us stopping people, not the offensive end.”