The Wildcats opened the 2020-21 basketball season with a convincing win over the former Southern conference Champions Wednesday in Estero, Florida.
ACU (1-0) was just a 7-point favorite but cruised to a 70-47 blowout led by junior forward Clay Gayman. Shooting a perfect 5-5 from 3-point range, Gayman led all scorers with 17 points.
“It definitely feels great to come out on top,” Gayman said. “It’s always good to get a win on the first day.”
3-pointers was a big question mark entering the season, following the departure of senior guard Payton Ricks who led the Wildcats in 3-pointers made last season.
“Today was my day, but tomorrow it could be anyone,” Gayman said. “You never know with this squad. Anyone can come up and knock down shots.”
The Wildcats started slow with a 6-5 deficit, but they began to pull away with Gayman’s first 3-pointer with 16:09 remaining in the first half. East Tennessee State (0-1) would never lead the game following the made bucket.
It ignited a 15-4 run for the Wildcats, propelling them to a 34-24 halftime advantage.
Senior center Kolton Kohl also had a career performance with his first double-double, totaling 12 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Coryon Mason was active on offense with 13 points on 5-10 shooting and five assists.
Freshman guard Logan Mclaughlin led the way in scoring for the four freshmen. Despite playing only five minutes, he totaled seven points and a perfect 2-2 from 3-point range.
Despite the big win, Gayman said the team is still trying to get fully organized for the season.
“With COVID restrictions we’re starting a little bit late and still trying to figure things out,” Gayman said. “I’m glad we came out here and got on top. It’s good opening day for sure.”
The Wildcats have Thanksgiving off to prepare for Friday’s matchup against Austin Peay from the Ohio Valley at 2 p.m.