Junior forward Joe Pleasant led the Wildcats to their seventh victory on the season with 20 points in a 95-73 victory over Hardin-Simmons Wednesday night.
“I had some struggles early on the season, and I just really keep working behind the scenes,” Pleasant said. “I just have to keep working and trusting my coaches and teammates.”
ACU (7-1) scored a season-high 95 points on 47% shooting. However, the Wildcats struggled to find stops on the opposite end, allowing a season-high 73 points.
“Defensively we know we have to be better,” Pleasant said. “We can’t have stuff like this happen. We have to stay locked in and stay who we are.”
Head coach Joe Golding was pleased with his team’s overall performance, but recognizes there’s still work to be done.
“Tonight we were not as sharp defensively, but we were pretty good offensively,” Golding said. “We’re working our guys really hard on the practice floor. We’re trying to get our team ready for January. We know what’s in front of us with conference teams.”
Golding was also pleased with Pleasant’s performance in the previous two games, scoring 16 or more in both.
“Joe [Pleasant] draws a lot of attention now being one of our better offensive players,” Golding said. “I think he’s done a much better job these last two games. He’s a leader in our locker room.”
Free throws have been a problem early in the season for ACU. Those struggles continued Wednesday, going 27-for-43 (63%).
“With COVID there’s been some things we haven’t gotten to as much, and one of those is free throws,” Golding said. “We haven’t utilized a lot of time in practice for free throws, but obviously that’s something we need to do.”
The Wildcats have shot 61% from the line this season. Up next Hardin-Simmons (4-3) heads home to face UT Dallas Saturday at 3 p.m. Meanwhile, ACU gets another test on the road with undefeated Arkansas Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“It’s one of the best programs in the country,” Golding said. “They’ve got really good players and good on both ends of the floor. It’s going to be a great experience for our team.”