Men’s basketball went 1-1 in their two games of the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic on Friday and Saturday. The Wildcats took their first game against Florida A&M, 72-62, but dropped Saturday afternoon’s match up against Oakland University, 85-57.
The results put ACU at 3-3 through six games with a home game against New Hampshire on Tuesday night, ending the Wildcats four-game road trip from Oregon to Colorado to the Gulf Coast.
After one of the best games played in recent memory, the Wildcats bounced back from a 108-100 loss against Northern Colorado with a win versus the Rattlers. The Wildcats continued their strong shooting from beyond the arc, sinking seven of 15 attempts.
Turnovers continued to be a problem for ACU. The Wildcats have committed double-digit turnovers in all but one game so far this season, and were forced into 17 turnovers Friday night.
“Everybody has been telling us for the last couple of days how great we played at Colorado State and how pretty that loss was,” head coach Joe Golding said. “But let’s not forget: that was a pretty loss and this was an ugly win. I’ll take an ugly win every day of the week, so let’s not confuse the two.”
Four Wildcats finished in double digits, but it was the bench that provided the offensive spark. Freshmen Jaylen Franklin and Jaren Lewis led the charge with 16 points on 4-6 shooting from Franklin and 12 points and eight rebounds contributed by Lewis. Sophomore Drake Green chipped in 12 points on 2-3 shooting from three.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 13-6 lead in the first half after a made three by Green. He would strike at the end of the half with another three to make it 32-24 at halftime.
The lead remained in ACU’s favor for the second half. A fastbreak layup by sophomore Isaiah Tripp pushed the lead to 14 at 64-42 with over six minutes to play.
ACU held Florida A&M to 2-14 three-point shooting and the Rattlers struggled from the charity stripe, converting just 12-22 attempts. The Wildcats won the battle inside, with seven more rebounds (38-31).
Against the Grizzlies, rough shooting plagued the Wildcats into the double-digit loss. ACU managed a 31 percent shooting performance and were a dismal 3-21 from three.
A bright side for the purple and white came from turnovers, committing a season-low nine turnovers.
Despite poor shooting, the Wildcats remained in the game, down by just 13 at 37-24.
“I told our guys early on that the way you stay in games like this when your shots aren’t falling is to get up and guard defensively,” Golding said. “I thought we played well defensively in the first half, and we were still in the game even though we weren’t hitting shots. But then we came out in the second half and didn’t guard a lick.”
The Grizzlies outscored ACU, 48-33 in the second half en route to the win. A made three by Oakland stretched the lead to 30 at 65-35 around the halfway point of the second half. The Wildcats would never get the lead back under 25, while scoring nine more points in the second than the first half.
Lewis led the Wildcats with 13 points in 21 minutes. Senior Jalen Little and Franklin each added eight points on a combined 8-19 shooting.