After COVID-19 protocols sidelined the Wildcats from the Baha Mar Nassau Championship, they defeated the Div. III McMurry Warhawks 89-54 in their home opener on Saturday night which was originally scheduled for Nov. 19.
The win also allowed head coach Brette Tanner to secure his first home victory for the Wildcats. The Wildcats only had three practices leading up to the matchup because six Wildcats were quarantined. Despite the week long break, the Wildcats jumped out to a 51-24 halftime lead.
“To come out and play as aggressive and as hard as we did I was extremely pleased,” Tanner said. “It just felt good to play at home. We haven’t been home for like a year, at least it feels like it. It felt good to put the white jerseys on and it almost felt weird, I didn’t know what to think.”
Senior guard Damien Daniels dished out a career high ten assists in the blowout victory.
“I just find joy in finding my teammates,” Daniels said. “I feel like tonight my teammates were open so I passed it to them and they made shots.”
The Wildcats forced 28 turnovers with 32 points off those turnovers which helped seal the home opening win. The Wildcats defense has forced over 20 turnovers in each of its games this season.
“We’ve been forcing turnovers but we haven’t been scoring off our turnovers,” Tanner said. “Tonight we scored 32 and that’s more ACU basketball.”
A quick turnaround is ahead for the Wildcats as they face the Div. III Schreiner Mountaineers on Monday and the Incarnate Word Cardinals on Saturday.
“On Monday we want to try to be better than we were today,” Tanner said. “I think we can definitely accomplish that. We have to make sure we keep our edge though, be careful with minutes for our players, and we need to use our bench because we have a huge game on Saturday against an old conference rival.”
The Wildcats and Mountaineers square off on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Teague Special Events Center and broadcast live on ESPN+.