By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
The men’s basketball team opened Lone Star Conference South division play at home this week with an 85-71 win over Angelo State Tuesday and a nail-biting 82-78 overtime loss to Midwestern State Thursday.
The Wildcats (9-6, 1-1 LSC South) trailed by 10 with more than five minutes left in regulation, but clutch shooting and timely defense enabled them to tie the game at 71 and send it into overtime, where the Indians pulled away to win.
“It stinks, man,” senior shooting guard Rodney Lee said after the game. “To fight back like that and end up losing really hurts.”
Senior forward Tucker Pierson led ACU scoring with 16 points, followed by senior guard Cliff Green’s 15.
Lee proved to be the difference in Tuesday’s win over Angelo State. On the heels of an ugly 67-54 home loss to Northeastern State in which he scored just three points on 1 of 10 shooting, the Fort Worth native used his hot hand and movement to knock down seven three pointers and a game-high 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting.
“I’ve had some bad nights shooting this year,” said Lee, “so the thing you’ve got to tell yourself as a shooter is you can’t keep missing like that. We had been stressing that motion offense and I got a lot of good looks coming off double screens.”
Lee connected on 7 of 11 three-point attempts (64 percent), and his seven treys were one shy of the school record, set by Corey Stone against Arkansas-Little Rock in 1994.
“The biggest thing for Rod was that he moved well without the ball and got all those open looks,” Pleasant said. “Once he gets going, he’s really hard to stop.”
The Wildcats, too, will prove hard to stop should they continue playing like they did in their first two division matchups, Thursday’s loss notwithstanding.
“We’ve been looking forward to conference games all year,” Lee said. “It’s almost like we play two different seasons, and you can sense it in practice. Everybody’s revved up right now.”