By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
The men’s basketball team embarked on a four-game road trip Thursday with hopes of winning enough Lone Star Conference South games to be eligible for the LSC Post-Season Tournament.
To make the playoffs, ACU must be in the top four spots in the division. As of Thursday, the Wildcats were fifth place in the seven-team South with a 2-4 record. Several alternatives remain as to how the division will shape up, but ACU head coach Klint Pleasant said his team’s best alternative is to win out.
“We definitely need to win every game we play,” Pleasant said. “The guys understand the position we’re in, and we need to step up if we want to control our own destiny.”
ACU is currently battling for the final division playoff spot with West Texas A&M, which lost to Eastern New Mexico Monday to give them a 3-4 South record.
ACU started its road trip Thursday at Texas A&M-Commerce, a team it beat 68-65 at home a week before. The Wildcats then play Texas A&M-Kingsville Saturday-a week after losing 66-64 to the Javelinas-and wrap up the road trip with games at Midwestern State and Angelo State next Saturday and Monday. The Cats fell 82-78 to MSU and whipped ASU 85-71 in previous meetings this season.
“We’ve proven we can beat these teams,” Pleasant said. “I told the guys I don’t care where we’re playing; we can win every game.”
Apparently, the team understood what he was saying. Junior guard David Baxter, who leads ACU in scoring with 14.8 points per game, said the players are pumped about finishing the season strong.
“Everyone has a positive outlook,” Baxter said. “We have a team full of guys who look forward to challenges. It’s just a matter of getting it done. Sometimes we play like we’re the best team in conference and sometimes we play like we’re the worst. We still have a lot to prove in conference.”
The next step in that proof is getting back Kingsville, which nipped ACU with a shot in the final seconds last Saturday. The Javelinas are second in the South with a 5-2 mark, and are led by big man Robert Hamilton and off-guard William Brown. Hamilton and Brown combined for 36 points in the victory over ACU.
“We’re starting to play really well right now,” Pleasant said. “I definitely think we can advance at this rate.”