The ACU men’s basketball team extended its winning streak to five with a 75-69 victory over Southeastern Louisiana Saturday.
With the win, the Wildcats (17-10, 12-4 SLC) clinched a spot in the Southland Conference Tournament and move into second in the conference standings.
“I think we did good,” Head Coach Joe Golding said. “This was a long and hard three-game road stretch, and the way they were able to tough it out in the final stretch was huge.”
ACU found itself at the charity stripe 29 times in the game, 20 in the first half. It was a large part in their victory, draining all but three attempts.
Junior guard Coryon Mason had an efficient evening with 15 points and five rebounds on 5-9 shooting.
“It feels real good,” Mason said. “I was just doing my role. We have to prepare for the couple games coming up, but we’ll just have to lock in on defense.”
Senior guard Payton Ricks led the team in scoring for the third-consecutive game with 18 points on 4-11 shooting. He was also a force on defense with three steals.
Later in the second half, the Lions responded. After trailing 42-28 at halftime, Southeastern Louisiana inched back into the game, tying it at 63 apiece with 3:47 remaining.
Leading the way for the Lions was junior forward Brandon Gonzalez. He led the game with 21 points on 7-12 shooting. However, following a timeout, the Wildcats sealed the outcome with an 11-0 run.
Looking ahead, Southeastern Louisiana travels to play at McNeese (12-15, 7-9 SLC) Wednesday night. Meanwhile, the Wildcats enter their toughest stretch of home games on the season, starting with Sam Houston State (18-10, 11-6 SLC) Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.
If the Wildcats grab a win Wednesday, they clinch a first-round bye in the Southland Conference Tournament.
“It doesn’t get any easier from here,” Golding said. “We have to treat every game like it’s a playoff game. We’ll have to play great defensively and see what happens.”