The Wildcats advanced to the Southland Conference Tournament Championship Friday night after a 93-71 win against the Lamar Cardinals.
ACU (22-4, 13-2 SLC) led throughout the entirety of the game and saw the return of senior guard Coryon Mason and junior forward Clay Gayman who missed previous games due to injury.
“I think a big key for us going into Katy was getting the week off and getting healthy,” said head coach Joe Golding. “We got back in a rotation where we can wear people out. This team is really good when we have all of our pieces, and it showed tonight.”
The Wildcats shot over 61% and saw four players score in double figures.
“We knew the start of the game would be important. We knew that if we got off to a good start, that would help us,” said Golding. “I thought our guys did a tremendous job of doing that and wearing them down.”
Lamar (10-18, 6-10 SLC) entered Friday’s game on a six-game winning streak and a 70-69 upset victory over Sam Houston State the previous night. However, the Cardinals’ 16 turnovers proved costly down the stretch, as the Wildcats converted 29 points off of turnovers.
“They are a very good defensive team. Their big guy [Kolton] Kohl has just gotten better and better every year,” said Lamar head coach Tic Price. “He’s long, and he gave us problems in the paint.”
Senior center Kolton Kohl led the Wildcats with 20 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Sophomore forward Airion Simmons also stacked the scoresheet, tying his career-high with 16 points.
The Wildcats return to the Southland Conference Championship Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. to face Nicholls for the first time this season. The game will air on ESPN2.
“Obviously a lot of respect for Nicholls; they’re the season champs,” said Golding. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We’re just honored to have the privilege to be there tomorrow night.”