Senior night provided some much needed magic for the men’s basketball team Tuesday night in Moody Coliseum.
In the team’s final home game of the year, the Wildcats jumped out to a 20-10 lead halfway through the first half and never looked back. ACU would take the game, 83-71, and end its losing streak a game under a baker’s dozen.
“I’m really happy for those seniors to be able to go out on top at home,” said head coach Joe Golding. “I thought all the seniors played well tonight, and they were definitely a big key to the win. I thought this was the first time in a long time that we’ve had that team out there that we did tonight. That team has been missing, and hopefully they’ll continue with that sort of urgency.”
The Wildcats were led by their trio of high-scoring guards. Senior guard LaDarrien Williams and junior guard Parker Wentz each chipped in 19 points to lead the Wildcats. Combined, they were 14-22 from the field, including 5-9 from the three-point line. Williams also had four rebounds and four assists to round out an overall impressive night, while Wentz recorded three steals on an active night defensively.
Senior guard Harrison Hawkins added 18 points, 10 coming in the second half, in 26 minutes of action. Junior guard Jalen Little recorded a season-high 11 assists and led ACU with four steals. Junior forward Duran Porter was solid off the bench for ACU, contributing nine points on 4-4 field goal shooting including a dunk and a block.
“We took care of the ball, putting in 20 assists and only six turnovers,” Golding said. “We shot well, we played hard and it all came together on the court. When we play as a team and get contributions from everyone, then really good things happen with this team.”
ACU shot 61 percent in the first half and led 41-26 at halftime. The Wildcats continued their hot shooting into the second half and stretched the lead to a game-high 25 after a made three by freshman guard Isaiah Tripp, making it 75-50, Wildcats.
The win puts ACU at 10-19 overall and 4-12 in the Southland conference. The win is ACU’s first conference win since its 95-81 victory over Northwestern State Jan. 13.
“It’s great to finally put this losing streak behind us,” Williams said. “It’s been on everyone’s mind, and to finally get rid of it is an awesome feeling. We all wanted to come out and set the tone early in the game, especially being the last game at home, and get the win.”
The Wildcats played the University of Incarnate Word (17-9, 9-7) Thursday night in San Antonio. ACU will now look to its final game of the season against the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders Saturday afternoon in South Texas. Tip off is set for 3:30 p.m.