After a dramatic near-comeback, the men’s basketball team dropped the ball in its division-opener against Eastern New Mexico, 78-65.
The Wildcats trailed by 16 with 12:06 left in the game, but after a 7-2 run that cut the deficit to 55-44, they started to force turnovers and execute on offense. ACU continued to press the Greyhounds, tying the game at 57-57 and again at 59-59. However, it wasn’t meant to be; the Greyhounds closed the final four minutes of the game, outscoring the Wildcats 19-6.
“I thought we would come out better in the first half. We let one of their kids score 18 points,” said Coach Jason Copeland. “We couldn’t get a basket when we needed it down the stretch. We just did not capitalize.”
The Greyhounds, on the other hand, were able to execute, hitting their last 14 free throw attempts to put the game away.
Eddie Thompson led the Wildcats with 13 points, while Marcus Washington added 11. All five of Eastern New Mexico’s starters finished in double figures. Victor Reed led all scorers for the Greyhounds with 20 points; Ben Warton added 8 points and four rebounds.
“We came back, and I thought we had them. It would have been an epic comeback,” Warton said. “It’s a tough place to play. Any conference road game is tough. It just didn’t happen. It is a tough one to swallow but we have to put it behind us and look forward to WT.”
ACU drops to 7-9 overall and 0-1 in conference, while the Greyhounds improve to 6-9 and 1-0. ACU will play its next game against West Texas A&M at 4 p.m. Saturday in Moody Coliseum.
Copeland said he expects the Buffaloes to be a tough team in the paint.
“They are going to be very physical. Our three post players will have to step up this weekend,” he said. “We just have to keep working. I felt that our shot selection was a lot better Wednesday night; we just need to find ways to get the ball in the basket.”