Freshman guard Logan McLaughlin set a new career-high early in the 2020 season with five 3-pointers and 17 points to lead the Wildcats over Howard Payne Tuesday, 81-51.
“Logan is going to be a really good player for us in this program,” head coach Joe Golding said. “He’s young, he’s a freshman. He’s coming off a torn ACL that he’s still working through, but each and every day he gets better.”
McLaughlin also had 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
Despite the 30-point victory to improve to 4-0 on the season, Golding was less than pleased with the performance.
“It wasn’t great. There were a lot of different disappointing things that happened tonight,” Golding said. “The one big thing that stares out at you is 19 turnovers and 12 in the first half.”
ACU (4-0) struggled to protect the ball but was successful in forcing turnovers on the defensive side. The Wildcats finished with 14 steals and Howard Payne (0-3) turned the ball over 29 times.
Senior guard Reggie Miller led the Wildcats with five steals, something ACU relies on.
“Defense is who we are,” Miller said. “We want to put pressure on the ball and force turnovers. Our defense fuels our offense.”
Tuesday’s win also was the Wildcats’ first home game in Teague Center, as Moody Coliseum undergoes renovations for the season.
“I know our guys were excited to come back and play,” Golding said. “I’m really impressed, and it’s going to be a fun atmosphere. We’ve still got to get used to it, but we’re really appreciative of the work behind the scenes to put that together.”
Freshman forward Jameson Richardson was the second Wildcat to reach double figures with 10 points on 4 for 10 shooting. Out of the 81 points scored, 51 came from off the bench.
Up next, the Wildcats stay home for a matchup against Tarleton (1-1) Saturday at 7 p.m.
“They were one of the most dominant Division II teams in the country for a long time,” Golding said. “Now we’re getting the chance to play them. It’s going to be a war Saturday night.”