The men’s basketball teamed was completely dominated from start to finish as the Wildcats suffered their worst defeat in the 91-year school basketball history on Monday with a 103-41 loss to Iowa in front of a 14,000 plus crowd. The 62-point deficit tops the 51-point loss suffered by the winless 1990-91 team to West Texas A&M, 127-76.
“Iowa is a Big 10 team that won 25 games last season and returns almost their entire team,” assistant coach Brette Tanner said. “It was a great experience for our guys. It gave them an opportunity to see what we are striving to be one day.”
The now 0-4, Wildcats were held to 26 percent shooting for the game and were 3-23 from the three-point line. ACU’s lone upside was that, as a team, the players converted 10-12 free throws attempts on the night. Junior guard LaDarrien Williams led ACU scorers with 12 points, five rebounds and two assists. Junior guard Harrison Hawkins was the only other Wildcat to finish the game with double digits in points with 10, three rebounds and a steal.
The Iowa Hawkeyes, who have high expectations coming into the year and are already 4-0, finished with 62 percent shooting, including 43 percent from downtown. They won the battle inside, outscoring ACU by 30 inside, and won in the rebounding category 36-30. Iowa also played more efficient basketball, forcing ACU to commit 19 turnovers, compared to the Hawkeyes’ five.
Senior guard Roy Devyn Marble led all scorers with 27 points on 9-13 shooting. Freshman guard Peter Jok added 15 points on 6-8 shooting along with three assists and two steals for the Hawkeyes. Junior center Gabriel Olaseni and senior forward Zach McCabe each had 10 points.
ACU fell behind early but was able to cut the Iowa lead to 12, 31-19. But, after a 15-3 run by the Hawkeyes, the Wildcats went into halftime trailing 46-22. Fatigue played a huge factor as the Wildcats were outscored 57-19 in the second half.
“I think the guys were just tired,” Tanner said. “We have put them in a very tough situation with all of this travel and the opponents we are playing. We will be better because of it in the long run.”
This game marked the fourth game the Wildcats have played out of state, including two different time zones in the past week alone. ACU is nearly halfway finished with their ridiculous season opening schedule, as they have five more games to play before their home-opener on Dec. 3 against Hillsdale Baptist. They’ll play in San Angelo, Cincinnati, Ohio, and then a final trip to the east coast with two games in Baltimore, Md.
“This experience has brought us closer as a team and has brought an unbelievable amount of good publicity to ACU,” Tanner said. “Somebody told me we were trending in the top 50 in the Washington DC area during the Maryland game. What these players are doing for this University is amazing.”
ACU also took on the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs on Tuesday night in Fort Worth. The Wildcats will now travel to San Angelo for the Angelo State Classic. They will play Western New Mexico University on Friday at 5 p.m. and then face off against Northern New Mexico College on Saturday at 5 p.m.
“We are still in the building process with this season,” Tanner said. “However, if the players continue to work hard and compete every day in practice than we will have a chance to do well. It is entirely up to them and how they continue to grow.”