Head coach Joe Golding emphasized over the offseason that his team wouldn’t rely on one primary scorer. That was the case Friday when four different Wildcats scored in double figures to improve to 2-0 on the season.
“Different guys are going to step up on different nights,” Golding said. “That’s how this team is built, and our guys just have to keep trusting each other on that.”
ACU (2-0) led by as many as 23 and never trailed Austin Peay (2-1) in the 40 minutes of play.
Senior guard Coryon Mason led the way scoring for the Wildcats with 14 points on 5-7 shooting.
“It felt good just to get out and play,” Mason said. “We’re just trying to get focussed on the next game, and get that next win.”
The Wildcats led by 17 and shot over 60% at the break. Meanwhile, the Governors shot a measly 33%.
“I thought the first half was as good as we’ve played in our program in a long time,” Golding said. “We were really locked in defensively, and our ball movement was really good. We took care of the basketball.”
Austin Peay would fight back in the second half, scoring 46 points but not enough to complete a comeback.
“In the second half, we really got away from a bunch of stuff, and their pressure bothered us,” Golding said. “We turned the ball over, but those are all learning experiences.”
Junior forward Joe Pleasant also made an impact inside with 12 points and five rebounds. Pleasant was listed on the Southland conference preseason second-team for the 2020-21 season.
While ACU jumps out to a 2-0 record, Golding believes this team still has a long way to go. They’ll face Omaha Saturday at 10 a.m.
“We’re fighting for respect,” Golding said. “We got the opportunity to get an invite, and we’ve obviously had the opportunity to play some really good teams and we’ve taken advantage of that so far.”