The men’s basketball team took on some of its toughest competition this season over the Thanksgiving break playing Oklahoma on Thursday falling 72-64. The Wildcats bounced back Sunday with a 71-55 win over Howard Payne.
The loss to Oklahoma was ACU’s second-straight loss after winning its first two of the seasons.
ACU was up at half with a 30-26 score, however, OU scored 46 in the second half to comeback and get the win by eight points.
“Everyone seemed eager to play at OU, and felt like it was a great opportunity,” said sophomore forward Hayden Howell. “The atmosphere was great as a lot of us had friends and/or family there.”
The Wildcats stopped their two game skid in Sunday’s match against Howard Payne, a series ACU now leads all-time 73-38.
The men put up 42 points in the first half topping Howard Payne’s 25, and while the Wildcats played slower in the second half scoring only 29, it was enough to hold off the Yellow Jackets 30 second half points to win by 16.
“Our goal is always to win the game, so no one is celebrating over playing them [OU] close,” Howell said. “No matter the team we play we’re going to feel as if we could have or should have played them better. It felt good to get a win (against Howard Payne) it’s been too long.”
Against Oklahoma, sophomore guard Jaylen Franklin led the team in points with 11 being the only Wildcat to reach double digit scoring during the game. Franklin left the game with an unknown leg injury however, and forced the Wildcats to be without one of their starting guards for most of the second half. He will be re-evaluated Monday in Abilene to determine the seriousness of the injury, but there is not serious concern at this time.
Sophomore guard/forward Jaren Lewis scored eight points in the game and also grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the team in that category.
For Oklahoma, senior guard Jordan Woodard led the Sooners in scoring with 16 points while junior forward Khadeem Lattin led his team in rebounds with 9.
Against Howard Payne, freshman guard Payten Ricks got the start with Franklin being out. Ricks provided 9 points along with 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Lewis and sophomore center Jalone Friday put up the most points in the game as Lewis scored 15 and Friday scored 16. The sophomore duo also led the team in rebounds with Lewis getting 9 and Friday earning 7.
For Howard Payne, sophomore guard Khyce Randall led his team in points with 10 while senior guard Donovan Jenkins got the most rebounds with 8.
The Wildcats will take on New Mexico University next. The game is scheduled for Wednesday in Albuquerque at 7 P.M. and will air on 98.1 FM at 8 P.M. central time.
“We expect a hostile crowd in a very loud stadium against a good team,” said Howell. “We’re going to have to play our game regardless of our surroundings.”