By Austin Gwin, Sports Writer
The Wildcats dropped their third conference game of the season to the Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelinas 78-73 Wednesday night. The loss was ACU’s fifth in its last six games, bringing its record to 7-9 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
“We didn’t finish the first half well, and we were out-rebounded by 10. We did some nice things at times, like having only four turnovers in the second half. We were able to pull within three, but after that we just couldn’t seem to make anything happen,” said head coach Jason Copeland.
The Wildcats started the game hot from behind the arc, nailing six of 11 three-point attempts to build a 27-25 lead, but the Javelinas went into the locker room ahead thanks to a 12-3 run in the final five minutes of the first half.
To start the second half the Wildcats again went downtown, draining a trio of three-pointers in the first two-and-a-half minutes. Texas A&M-Kingsville looked to be too much though as they held a 60-46 lead with less than 10 minutes left play.
Preseason LSC Player of the Year Dejan Sencanski was not finished with the Javelinas however, scoring 10 of 17 for the Wildcats as ACU cut the lead to one point, 64-63, with under five minutes in the game.
After a pair of Kingsville baskets, guard Dante Adams hit a three to cut the margin to three with 40 seconds left. It was too little too late though as the Javelinas went five of six from the free-throw line to close the game.
Kingsville did most of its damage down low, dominating ACU in the paint by a score of 54-16, and 17 extra-chance points by the Javelinas did not help the Wildcat cause.
Sencanski led all scorers with 22 points while playing all 40 minutes. Milos Klimovic and Adams added 13 points each, and Ean Wagner came off the bench with 10.
Saturday, ACU will face Angelo State (13-4, 1-1). Angelo State will be riding the high of a quadruple-overtime win against Tarleton State.
The Wildcats look to keep Angelo State from the free-throw line. The Rams lead the Lone Star Conference in free-throw shooting this year.
“Containing their guards will be critical,” Copeland said. “They have a couple of guards with Division I experience. We need our defense to get to them and force contested shots.”
Last year, the Wildcats swept the Rams in the season series taking both games. Game time is set for 4 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.