By Blake Penfield, Sports Writer
The ACU men’s basketball team lost to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque on Friday. The 91-54 loss against the Division I UNM team marks the end of the Wildcats’ preseason.
While the game was an exhibition match for ACU, it was UNM’s season opener. UNM Lobos’ starter Tony Danridge immediately set the pace for the game with a field goal that lead to an 8-0 run by the Lobos. Hitting seven of nine shots, the Lobos took a 15-3 lead. ACU’s Courtnie Ross attempted to drop anchor on UNM’s unrelenting offensive attack with a three-pointer. However, the Lobos barked back with two-consecutive three-pointers by bench player Darren Prentice. At halftime UNM led the Wildcats 38-19, and ACU went seven for 32 in the first half. The Lobos shot 46 percent.
“We came out a little tight early in the game,” said head coach Jason Copeland. “We started executing better as the game went on. Once we relaxed, we really started playing better in the second half.”
While the Wildcats shot a better 12 for 19 in the second half, the Lobos were unrelenting shooting 57 percent, including ten three-point shots. UNM never gave the Wildcats a chance to catch their breath.
J.R. Giddens, former point guard for the University of Kansas, once again led the Lobos offensively with 21 points followed by perimeter shooter Darren Prentice with 16 points.
Leading scorers for the Wildcats were forward Philip Brooks with 13 points and forward Marcos Hubner with 10. Both leading scorers came off the bench.
“We played a tough game. They have a good team. We can learn a lot from them,” Hubner said.
The game commemorated the 40th anniversary of the University of New Mexico’s historic home court, the Pit. ACU was the first school to challenge UNM in the Pit when it first opened its doors in 1966. UNM is ranked by the NCAA as one of the best home court teams in the league. In addition to being picked as fifth in the Mountain West Conference, UNM is projected to make it to the NCAA tournament at the end of the season.
The Wildcats’ regular season begins with two games in a row this weekend in the ACU Classic. On Friday the Wildcats will go up against Hillsdale Baptist, and on Saturday the team will challenge Concordia. Look for a preview of both of these games on Friday.