Senior guard Payton Ricks caught fire early against Houston Baptist Wednesday and never looked back, scoring 24 points and draining six 3-pointers.
“Our guys stepped up and made plays that contributed,” Ricks said. “It was an all-around good win.”
The Wildcats (16-10, 11-4) came out on top, 82-68, over the Huskies (3-21, 3-12 SLC). ACU, in fact, took down Houston Baptist a week prior at Moody Coliseum, 81-67.
Head Coach Joe Golding said he thought Ricks played a phenomenal game, and the rest of the team did a good job giving him opportunities to score.
“We did a good job of finding him,” Golding said. “He also hit some tough shots tonight, so he played well. The best part was his teammates believing in him and encouraging him to take shots like that.”
Feb. 12, the Wildcats held the Huskies to their lowest point total of the season. Wednesday night, they held them to their second-lowest total. Golding credited his defense, as he’s done all season.
“It’s been big for us all year,” Golding said. “It really became the identity of our team early on. I think we have so many guys in new roles, but we’ve played really well on the defensive side all year long.”
Along with Ricks, sophomore forward Clay Gayman had an efficient evening with 11 points and four rebounds on 5-7 shooting. Recently, Gayman has become a bigger impact on the court. Five out of the last six games, he’s scored in double figures.
Early in the first half, the Huskies managed to keep pace with ACU but never found the lead. Despite shooting 50% percent in the first half, the Wildcats managed to hold a 44-38 lead at the break.
Later in the second half, however, ACU pulled away with a 15-6 run early in the segment.
Ricks said that the team and the rest of the staff is looking forward to getting back to playing games in Abilene
“We’re kind of sick of all these away games,” Ricks said. “We’ll take advantage of that and hopefully play really well at home.”
But first the Wildcats have one more road game on their three-game road trip before returning. They’ll take on Southeastern Louisiana (6-20, 3-12 SLC) Saturday at 4 p.m.