By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
The road to the postseason couldn’t be much harder for the men’s basketball team.
After falling on the road Thursday night to West Texas A&M 79-64, the Wildcats need some help to clinch the No. 4 spot in the Lone Star Conference South Division and reach the LSC postseason tournament for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
If ACU, 13-11 overall and 4-6 in division play, wins Saturday’s game at Eastern New Mexico (results were unavailable at press time) and March 1 against Midwestern State, the Wildcats are guaranteed a spot in postseason action.
A loss to ENMU and a win over MSU wouldn’t smash the Wildcats postseason hopes, but Angelo State would have to lose to in its next game against ENMU. The Wildcats own the tiebreaker over ASU with its Jan. 30 win over the Indians, 82-71.
“One thing that Coach [Pleasant] said is that we control our own destiny,” red shirt freshman Rance Bland said. “We have to bring our A-game.”
Junior guard Ryan Coleman agrees.
“It’s pretty much in our heads that we need to win,” Coleman said. “These games are pretty much the biggest games of the year.”
ACU’s next game, against Panhandle State Feb. 27 at Moody Coliseum, is set to start at 8 p.m.
The Wildcat tandem of Rodney Lee and Tucker Pierson combined for only 17 points in Thursday’s loss at West Texas A&M, only half of their combined averages this season. The Aggies held Lee, the LSC’s No. 2 scorer, 15 points below his per-game average. Lee missed 11 of 12 shots and managed only 5 points. Pierson grabbed eight rebounds and scored 12 points, while red shirt sophomore Jeff Johnson led the team with 15 points.
Coleman said the addition of junior college transfer Cliff Green has helped the program and himself as a player move in a new direction.
“Once Cliff came in here, it was a big burden off my back,” Coleman said of Green, who leads the LSC in assists per game. “He does the dirty work and helps us out even when he doesn’t score. He controls the game because he creates opportunities for the other guys.”