The men’s basketball team faced off against Tarleton State in a crucial Lone Star Conference matchup, but fell just short with a 75-70 overtime loss.
The Wildcat defense played smart basketball in the first half, playing sound defense and keeping the Texans off the free throw line the entire first twenty minutes.
The solid defense coupled with efficient shooting led ACU to an eight point half-time lead at 31-23.
“We were hitting some shots early and stretched it out to an eight point lead,” head coach Joe Golding said. “Against Tarleton that is good. We got stops in the zone and they missed some shots and we were able to get the rebounds.”
Despite outrebounding Tarleton State by five in the game, the ‘Cats struggled to pull down rebounds in the second half and allowed the Texans to get several easy layups on offensive rebounds.
“In the second half they were able to hit more shots,” Golding said. “I don’t know how many they hit late, maybe five out of six. But we did not rebound the ball well from about the ten minute mark to about the five minute mark and gave them extra opportunities and they hurt us on the glass.”
Tarleton State surged ahead in the second half, and held a two-point lead with under a minute to go when Steven Werner’s dunk tied the game and pushed it to overtime.
With a crowd as rambunctious as any in the last few years, ACU took the court with a chance to get a home victory. But some questionable foul calls coupled with clutch shooting from the visitors put the Wildcats away.
“The crowd was unbelievable,” Golding said. “One of these days we are going to win a game like this for the crowd. I want to give credit to our students. I really appreciate them giving us a home court advantage tonight, and they carried us late in the game by being active and loud. That was very good to see.”
Eric Lawton finished with a game-high twenty points, including six three-pointers. Werner had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Elliott Lloyd finished with eleven points. Dosh Simms had eleven rebounds.
“I love seeing our athleticism and the three ball,” ACU fan Nolan Bryan said. “We have gotten better at making shots and playing as a team.”
The ‘Cats start a three-game road trip today, and will need a fast finish to qualify for post-season play. ACU will take on Midwestern State tonight with an opportunity to continue their success on the road.
“We have been good on the road this year, we are 3-3 in the Lone Star on the road,” Golding said. “Our next three are on the road, and we have to find a way to steal a couple on the road.”