The Wildcats shot a dismal 18% from the 3-point line in Huntsville for their first conference loss of the season Wednesday night.
Sam Houston State (12-5, 6-0 SLC) led by as many as 12 early in the first half and held the Wildcats to their second-lowest point total of the season in the 64-57 loss.
“I thought they were tougher than us,” said head coach Joe Golding. “That’s the first time this year we’ve been out-toughed. Credit Sam Houston tonight; they were ready to play.”
Senior guard Coryon Mason was absent from the game due to an undisclosed injury. His return to action is still in question.
“It’s just day-by-day right now,” said Golding. “We hope to get him back soon, but he’s going to be fine.”
ACU (11-3, 3-1 SLC) also lost redshirt sophomore Immanuel Allen in the loss. Upon returning to Abilene, it was confirmed that he would miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
Allen was averaging 5.6 PPG and 51% shooting in his first season on the court.
The Wildcats marched back early in the second half and trimmed the lead to just two points, but ACU couldn’t connect on shot attempts late in the game, making just two of out of its last 12 attempts.
“Every time we chipped into their lead, they’d kill us on the glass,” said Golding. “It’s all about toughness, and I felt like they were the tougher team.”
Sophomore forward Airion Simmons tied his career-high with 16 points. He shot an efficient 6-for-10 and tallied four rebounds.
Up next, the Wildcats look to bounce back hosting Central Arkansas Saturday at 3 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+. Meanwhile, Sam Houston State looks to stay unbeaten in conference play at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Wednesday at 7 p.m.
“Obviously we have to get a lot tougher in the next 48 hours. We’re going to play a really good team at home. We couldn’t pull it out tonight, and we have to protect our home court Saturday.”