ACU bounced back with a Saturday night thriller at Central Arkansas from its overtime loss Wednesday against Sam Houston State.
The Wildcats marched back from a 13-point deficit in the first half to win their 11th game on the season, 70-69.
“I think our guys showed a lot of toughness,” Head Coach Joe Golding said. “We battled back late in the first half to trim the lead and again later in the game. Bottom line, we showed some toughness and grit when we needed it.”
Early in the game, ACU jumped out to an early 6-0 lead. But the Bears responded with a 13-0 run. The Wildcats struggled early, shooting 8-27 (29.6%) in the first half.
Senior guard Payten Ricks sent the game into overtime after being fouled with one second left in the second half. He followed to make three consecutive free throws.
Ricks drained 24 points and tied his career-high with five 3-pointers. He also capped off the evening with a game-winning jump-shot above the paint with three seconds left in overtime.
“We needed this win to respond to adversity,” Ricks said. “Coach [Golding] has been preaching that all year, and that’s a tough road win to get. UCA is really good this year, and they can shoot the ball really well.”
Junior guard Coryon Mason was also a contributing factor to the win with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and two points in overtime before fouling out.
Golding still emphasized his team has work for improvement, despite the win.
“We got to get better offensively,” Golding said. “We also have to understand that if we continue to guard, we give ourselves a chance to win.”
With ACU’s win over UCA, they move to forth in the Southland Conference standings.
The Wildcats finish their three-game road trip Wednesday, as they face Stephen F. Austin at 7:30 p.m. The Lumberjacks are first in the Southland standings and upset No. 1 Duke, 85-83 on Nov. 2.