The men’s basketball team went on the road to face Sam Houston State for their second meeting of the season Saturday evening and was able to fend off a late spark from the Bearkats for the 84-81 victory.
With this win, the men theoretically kept their chances of making the Southland Conference tournament alive as they currently sit tied with Nicholls State for the eighth and final spot. Unfortunately for ACU, in the final year of transition the men are unable to advance to the tournament.
However, if the Wildcats are able to win their last two match ups they will have an opportunity to be invited to the CBI or CIT Invitational tournaments.
The Wildcats moved to 7-9 in conference play and 13-14 overall while Sam Houston dropped to a 9-7 Southland record and an 18-11 overall record.
The men handled the game well in the first half as they went into halftime with a 36-28 lead.
In the second half, the Wildcats were able to push their lead even further to 13 points at the 11:46 mark with a score of 55-42.
ACU kept a comfortable lead all the way up to the 56 second mark when the Bearkats made a miraculous attempt to come back.
Down 74-66, Sam Houston put up 15 points within the final 56 seconds, including three three pointers.
However, the Wildcats were able hold off the Bearkats as they put up 10 points of their own with redshirt freshman center Jalone Friday making two free throws to seal the victory in the end.
Sophomore point guard Jaylen Franklin talked about how it felt to win on the road after losing at home.
“Coming off a tough loss at home didn’t feel too good,” Franklin said. “We are very big on protecting moody and we couldn’t get it done the other night, so going to Sam Houston and beating them on their home floor is what we needed to get over the loss at Moody.”
The men shot 49 percent from the field making 25-of-51 shots and were even more impressive from three point range shooting 52 percent.
Franklin, sophomore guard Jaren Lewis, and sophomore forward Hayden Farquhar all led the team in scoring as they each recorded 14 points.
If the men are able to win their last two games, their conference winning percentage will finish at .500 and their overall percentage would be above .500
Lewis spoke about how it would feel to win the final two regular season games.
“It would be great to win out these next two games,” Lewis said. “That’s a goal we’ve talked about for awhile and we know we have to take it one game at a time.”
ACU will face Incarnate Word in its last home game of the season Wednesday and will go on the road to play Houston Baptist in its final regular season game Saturday.