By Blake Penfield, Sports Writer
The men’s basketball team lost its exhibition game 69-56 to the Division 1 University of Texas-San Antonio in San Antonio Thursday despite the Wildcats’ halftime lead.
Though ACU started off strong, a 25-6 run by the Roadrunners in the second half proved to be too paralyzing a blow for the Wildcats. Guard Cortnie Ross, coming off the bench after recently recovering from oral surgery, coupled with starting forward Cameron Holson, one of the three returning players, led the Wildcats with 11 points a piece. Guard Elmo Williams closely followed them with 10 points off the bench.
“Turnovers hurt us a lot,” head coach Jason Copeland said. “We struggled with taking care of the ball.”
With 19 turnovers, the Wildcats more than doubled the eight committed by UTSA. The Wildcats’ shooting trouble Ð both in and out of the paint—continued as the team went four of 16 from behind the three-point arc and 20 for 44 in total field goals. Copeland said ACU had problems matching up with UTSA in the paint. In the second half, the Wildcats mustered only six points in the paint, while UTSA scored 24.
Despite the results of the game, Copeland said he is optimistic and even grateful about the way things turned out.
“When you’re playing against Division I, you’re playing with some kids that are bigger, stronger and that have some more talent.” Copeland said. “Playing them exposes those things to work on. We learn from that. It’s all worth it. And with ten new guys playing with each other, there is a lot of benefit from playing these [preseason] games.”
This year, the men’s team was picked sixth in the LSC South out of the 14 teams. This is one spot up from last year when the Wildcats were picked to finish seventh. The top two teams picked in the LSC South are Central Oklahoma and Tarleton State universities.
ACU’s next exhibition game against Division I competition is on Friday against the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The team’s first home game is against Hillsdale Freewill Baptist College in the ACU Classic on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.