The Wildcats’ match up with Schreiner was never in doubt, as ACU came away with a 69-46 win to move to 3-1 at home. Head coach Joe Golding’s squad snapped its three-game losing skid and moves to 4-5 on the year.
Freshman Jaylen Franklin put together a complete game, recording game-highs in points (14), assists (7) and rebounds (6). He led all players in the three major categories, while adding three steals.
“I’m proud of him, he’s really grown up over these last few games and it’s shown,” Golding said. “With Little being out, he’s really stepped up as of late and done a good job. He finished with seven assists, but I feel like he could have had ten, eleven or twelve honestly. We missed a lot of wide-open looks off his penetration. But overall, he had a good game.”
Although the Wildcats handled the Div. III member Mountaineers easily, for much of the first half, the score did not reflect the feel of the game. ACU jumped out to a 21-4 lead after the first ten minutes of action, holding the Mountaineers to 2-11 shooting from the field early on. Schreiner hit a three to stay within reach with under three minutes left in the half to make it 31-16 ACU.
Franklin would lead ACU to a couple of finesse scores, scoring on an out-of-bounds pass that he tipped in, and then driving the baseline on their next possession and finding senior Duran Porter for the two-handed slam as the defense collapsed. ACU would take a 37-18 lead into halftime.
“We gave a lot of effort on the defensive end,” Franklin said. “We really focused on that side of the ball today, but we still haven’t learned how to play a full 40-minute game. That’s something we need to work on.”
The Wildcats broke things open to take a 30-point lead at 61-31 after a fast break score at the 9:28 mark in the second half. The Mountaineers outscored the Wildcats 15-8 over the final ten minutes, but with most of those points coming at the free throw line, it was little consideration. The Mountaineers were 8-14 from the charity stripe, while the Wildcats converted 6-11 attempts.
Senior guard Parker Wentz proved why he is one of the top shooters in the Southland. His 12 points all came from beyond the arc in a 4-6 three-point shooting afternoon, with two of those buckets coming on back-to-back ACU possessions, which helped push the lead to the mid-20s.
The Wildcats shot nearly 60 percent from the field in the first half and ended at the 54 percent. Besides Wentz, the team struggled from three, cashing in seven of 20 attempts.
ACU got balanced scoring from all up and down the roster. Junior Jovan Crnic put in nine points, five rebounds and five assists for the afternoon. Porter added eight points on 4-5 shooting, and senior Austin Cooke recorded seven points and a trey in just 13 minutes of action, as he battled foul trouble all game long.
Schreiner failed to have a player finish in double-digit scoring, and shot just 32 percent for the game and were 4-23 from downtown.
The Wildcats welcome California-Riverside on Friday, before taking on Texas Christian University and Drake University on the road before Christmas.