The Wildcats will head to Huntsville to face one of the top teams in the Southland, Sam Houston State, Monday night.
ACU will go into the game with a 9-15 overall record and 3-8 in Southland Conference play. SHSU is second in the conference at 10-1 and 19-5 overall.
The Wildcats are still in search of a win that would snap their eight-game losing streak. The streak began in Moody Coliseum Jan. 17 with a defeat at the hands of conference power Stephen F. Austin. ACU would then lose a winnable game against McNeese State, 56-63, in which the Wildcats shot 32 percent for the game.
ACU next lost a pair at home to Incarnate Word and Sam Houston, each by double digits, and then two more on the road to Lamar University (74-84) and Houston Baptist (61-77). The team would return home to take on one of the lower-ranked teams in the conference, Southeastern Louisiana, but couldn’t get the job done, falling 52-65. The Lions would shoot more than 50 percent in the second half en route to the win.
Their last loss would come at the hands of Lamar in a 61-80 defeat on a neutral court in Garland as Sing Song took over the coliseum. A 35-point outburst from Cardinal Kevin Booze, along with 19 team free throw attempts in the second half, sank the Wildcats’ chances of breaking the streak.
In their last meeting with Sam Houston, the Bearkats took care of business in Moody, dealing ACU a 63-80 loss. The Bearkats won on an overall team effort that saw five players end the game with double-digit scoring, including all but one of their starters.
ACU was led by junior forward Austin Cooke, who finished the game with a team-high 15 points on 6-12 shooting from the field and 3-6 from beyond the arc. Senior guard Harrison Hawkins added 13 points, all in the second half, on 4-6 shooting and was 3-4 from the three.
Unlike most ACU men’s basketball games this season, the Wildcats were able to keep up with their opponent in the second half. ACU outscored SHSU 38-35 in the second, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their 45-25 halftime deficit.
The Wildcats shot 38 percent in the first half and converted three of 11 3-point attempts. In the second half, ACU bumped its shooting to 74 percent (14-19), but couldn’t execute when it came to the free throw line. The Wildcats were 5-13 from the line in the second half and 9-21 in the game for the team who was, at the time, the best-shooting free throw team in the conference.
Hawkins leads ACU in scoring this season at 13.9 points per game. Junior guard Parker Wentz has averaged 12.1 points on 43 percent 3-point shooting.
Senior guard LaDarrien Williams averages 10.5 points per game and is one of the better rebounding guards in the conference at 4.1 boards per game. Cooke leads the Wildcats in rebounding at 5.8 a game and is averaging 10.3 points per game, 47 percent shooting and 45 percent three-point shooting.
Tip off is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday night.