The men’s basketball team faced Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on the road Wednesday evening and outscored them 46-31 in the second half which helped the Wildcats earn a 73-64 victory.
ACU’s victory pushed itself back into second place of the Southland Conference with an improved record of 11-4 in conference and 22-6 overall. It was also the sixth time the Wildcats avoided consecutive losses this season.
In the first half, the men trailed almost the entire time and went into halftime down 33-27. The Islanders remained with the lead to start the second half, however, ACU eventually grabbed it outscoring Corpus Christi 17-8 up to the 12:10 mark.
After jumping ahead by one, the Wildcats went on a 13-4 to take an even bigger lead (56-47) with 5:55 left to play. For the rest of the game, ACU never let the Islanders back within less than eight of its lead and claimed the 73-64 win.
Senior forward Jaren Lewis said his team has always kept its head up and bounced back this entire season.
“This team is very special,” Lewis said. “We have bounced back after losses and the coaching staff has done a great job keeping us on edge and making sure we stay locked in. This team has been great with staying positive and taking one game at a time. We move on quick after losses and try to improve on our mistakes.”
The Wildcats shot 41 percent from the field in the game which was less than the Islanders’ 46. At the free throw line, however, the men more than doubled Corpus Christi’s 14 attempts with 31 of their own and made 21 of them (68 percent).
Lewis and senior guard Jaylen Franklin were the team’s top scorers as they finished with 16 points each. Lewis also ended with an impressive stat line of nine rebounds, six steals and four assists.
Freshman forward Joe Pleasant saw more action off the bench tonight as he played 25 minutes. He finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Senior forward Hayden Farquhar also scored double-digits with 12 points as well as junior guard Payten Ricks who had 11.
ACU’s next challenge will be against Central Arkansas on the road Saturday. The Wildcats welcomed the Bears to Moody back in January and defeated them 79-56 in a lopsided game. UCA now hosts the men in Conway as they sit in tight eighth place with three other teams that have the same conference record as them (6-9).
Lewis said what his team will have to improve when facing the Bears.
“Against the Bears on Saturday we know we have to take care of the ball and execute offensively,” Lewis said. “Defensively we have to stay locked in and rebound to finish out possessions.”
Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. and coverage of the game will air on 98.1 FM.