By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
Klint Pleasant wrapped up his first season as head men’s basketball coach having won only 13 of 27 games.
But don’t let the numbers fool you: It’s the beginning of a Pleasant era for ACU basketball.
The former Kent State assistant coac h was only 15 minutes away from another victory Saturday night, but Midwestern State stole the last spot in the Lone Star Conference Post-Season Tournament away from the Wildcats, winning 68-51 in the last game of the regular season.
The Wildcats, who finished 13-14 overall and 4-8 in conference play, smelled a premature whiff of postseason play, but still equaled the team’s combined win total from the past two seasons.
Pleasant said his team gave a maximum effort despite losing 11 of its last 14 games.
“I felt that our team peaked in those first few weeks of February,” Pleasant said. “That’s not a bad thing. Every team has a time that they peak. I was still very happy with our guys and their effort.”
The Wildcat loss sends Midwestern State to the tournament despite winning only 10 of 27 games.
ACU trailed by seven at halftime, but whittled the lead down to three following a jumper by junior guard Rodney Lee.
Midwestern State went on to outscore ACU 11-0 over the next three minutes to take control of the contest, including three straight field goals by Kris Siversten.
The Wildcats were led by sophomore forward Calvin Nite and junior forward Tucker Pierson, who topped the team in scoring with 15 points apiece.
Lee, the third-ranked LSC scorer, was held in check by the Midwestern defense, scoring only six points on 2 of 9 shooting Saturday.
Lee did tie Charles Jackson’s school record for most 3-pointers in a single-season with 87 despite missing all of his 3-point attempts in Saturday’s game.
Jackson also set the record during the 1995-96 season.
Pleasant said he was proud of the Wildcats jump to sixth in LSC scoring offense. ACU ranked 13th last season.
“I attribute our success this year to a total change in attitude,” Pleasant said. “We have a really good nucleus coming back.”