As the Wildcats played their first nationally televised home game, they could not find a way to earn the win over Sam Houston State, losing 70-51 on Saturday afternoon. ACU now moves to 7-13, 1-5 in conference on the year. SHSU improves to the second place spot in the Southland with a 14-6 record and a 6-2 conference record.
ACU was held to 42 percent shooting from the field and just 31 percent from three-point attempts, as SHSU’s depth and defensive quickness proved to be difficult to overcome. The 51 points are the lowest offensive output the Wildcats have had at home this season. Sam Houston State entered the game as the third-highest scoring team in the Southland conference.
“Our plan was to not turn the ball over,” head coach Joe Golding said. “They’re a great team in transition and we wanted to move the ball to get a good shot and either score or give us the ability to get back and set up on defense.”
Turnovers ended up costing ACU as they turned the ball over 18 times, ten coming from the first half alone. The Bearkats converted 18 points off Wildcat turnovers. SHSU also won the battle inside, out-rebounding ACU 30-23 and outscoring the Wildcats in the paint, 30-18. Fouls played a huge factor against the Wildcats. Four of the nine players who played in Saturday’s game finished with four fouls.
“We already don’t have a lot of depth, which makes it tough, but I can take a loss like that,” Golding said. “At the end of the day, they were just better than us. I can’t handle a game where we don’t give our best effort.”
Junior forward Jacob Lancaster led the team in scoring with 12 points in nine minutes, his highest-scoring game since he had his season-high 21 points on Dec. 8 against Open Bible College. Sophomore guard Parker Wentz continued to rack up minutes with 11 points, 5 assists in 38 minutes of play. Junior guard Julian Edmonson was the only other Wildcat to finish in double figures with 11 points on 4-14 shooting.
The Wildcats kept the game close in the first half, only trailing by six with four minutes left in the first half. The Bearkats proceeded to go on a 10-4 run to close the half, leading ACU 36-24 at halftime. The game soon got out of hand as SHSU started the second half on a 15-6 run, and then added a 9-0 run around the 13-minute mark. The Bearkats reached their largest lead of the game at 24 with 4:32 left in the second half.
ACU finished their four-game homestand by going 1-3, with their single win coming on the game-winning shot from Wentz against Central Arkansas. The Wildcats hit the road for two games against Stephen F. Austin (18-2, 7-0) on Thursday night and then Northwestern State (7-11, 3-4) Saturday at 1 p.m.