Turnovers plagued the Wildcats as the men’s basketball team was unable to stop the bleeding of their current losing streak with a loss to Lamar University Monday night in Garland. ACU’s 80-61 loss makes it eight losses in a row for the Wildcats who are 9-15 and 3-8 in the Southland Conference. The Wildcats committed a season-high 21 turnovers, 12 coming in the first half, that lead to 24 points for Lamar off of ACU turnovers.
Junior guard Parker Wentz led the Wildcats with 19 points on 5-9 shooting. It was the first time Wentz, who is currently ACU’s second-leading scorer, finished a game in double digit scoring since his 29 point outburst on Jan. 13 against Northwestern State. He was also 2-4 from beyond the arc and 7-8 from the free throw line. Junior forward Austin Cooke put in 12 points on the strength of 3-4 three-point shooting and added a game-high eight rebounds.
Junior guard Jade Little finished with a season-high 11 points and senior guard LaDarrien Williams chipped in 10 points on 4-6 shooting and added five rebounds. Senior guard Harrison Hawkins, ACU’s leading scorer, failed to register a point in the loss to the Cardinals. Hawkins finished with 0-5 shooting, five turnovers in only 15 minutes of play. After receiving a technical foul early in the second half, Hawkins spent the remainder of the game on the bench.
Freshman guard Kevin Booze was unstoppable for Lamar. Booze finished with a career high 35 points on 9-13 three point shooting. His 35 points is the second highest point tally recorded by a player in the Southland Conference this season. Booze had 25 points in the first half, as he went 6-7 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes of action.
The Wildcats shot 9-24 as a team in both halves to finish the game at 38 percent from the field and 50 percent (9-18) from three. ACU was 16-20 from the charity strike, but sent Lamar to the free throw line more than their share. The Wildcats committed 13 fouls in the second half and allowed Lamar to reach the double bonus with 11 minutes left in the game. The Cardinals attempted 19 free throws in the second half, making 14 of them. Lamar finished the game 25-31 from the free throw line, 22-48 (46 percent) from the field and 11-19 from beyond the arc.
The Wildcats and Cardinals came out of the gates red hot from the three point arc. Both teams combined to go 13-22 from beyond the arc in the first half, as most of the Wildcats shots early on were from three. ACU trailed 26-17 after a pair of made Cardinal free throws with 8:46 left in the first half. The rest of the half would end with ACU trailing between the seven and 12 point deficit mark, ending with a 40-32 Lamar lead at the half.
The second half would begin in typical fashion for ACU, giving up an early run and watching the deficit swell. By the 12:27 mark in the second half, Lamar had registered a 20-8 run to move ahead by 20 points, 60-40. The Wildcats shaved the Cardinal lead to 15 points on a pair of junior forward Duran Porter’s shots in the paint and Williams free throws, but ACU would never get close from that point on. Porter finished the game with four points, five rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Wildcats were forced to play their game against the Cardinals on a neutral court in Garland, Texas due to Sing Song requiring the use of Moody Coliseum for this week. ACU will now get a week off before its next game on the road against the Sam Houston State Bearkats (19-5, 10-1) in Huntsville.