Last Tuesday, The Wildcats basketball team headed to Waco to take on Division I powerhouse Baylor in their first scrimmage of the season.Â Â ACU has struggled in recent years, but gave the Bears all they could handle this time around.
“In the first half, we were able to do some good things defensively,” senior forward Ben Warton said. “We have a long way to go, but if we play like we did in the first half then a lot of good things are going to happen for us.”
The Wildcats headed to the locker room at half time only down by six, proving that new basketball coach Joe Golding has ACU taking the court ready to play with just about anyone.
“[Golding] is a good motivator in terms of keeping us hungry and just dreaming big. “Junior Erik Kibi said.
Eventually the flood gates opened, and the ‘Cats could not quite keep up with the #12 team in the nation in the second half, due in part to their tough night shooting the basketball.
“We had a lot of good open shots not fall for us that we’ll normally make,” Warton said. “But we were penetrating well and finding the open person.”
One open shooter was Antonio Bell, who came off the bench for the Wildcats and brought the three-ball with him. Bell finished with 13 points and three long three pointers. Bell lead the team in scoring.Â Â Freshman guard Kendall Durant also finished in double figures with 11 points.
The Wildcats are coming off a season in which they won less than 10 games, but there is a cultural shift taking place for the ACU basketball program that could produce more wins in 2011-2012.
“We expect to win a conference championship.” Kibi says. “That’s what we are striving for. It is a new year and a new era so we have new expectations.”
The Wildcats will make their home debut this weekend against Truman State University this Friday at 8:30 p.m. as part of the ACU Whitten Inn Tipoff Classic. They will also play the very next night against East Central University at 7 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.