ACU made a quick turnaround from Tuesday against Utah to face the Texas A&M Aggies in a buzzer-beating 81-80 double overtime loss on Friday in College Station.
At halftime, the Wildcats were down 28-20 but roared back with a 41 point second half performance to tie the game at 61 and force an overtime.
“These guys fight, scratch, claw, there’s no quit in them,” said head coach Brette Tanner. “There’s a lot of teams out there that would have quit at halftime and these guys didn’t. They believed at halftime that they were going to come back and win this game.”
The Wildcats held a 80-78 lead with under 20 seconds left to play but fouled an Aggie with six seconds left to force a free throw. With under six to play after the missed free throws, Aggies sophomore guard Hassan Diarra hit a buzzer-beating three pointer with under a second to play.
“We were going to win,” Tanner said. “That was our mindset. What happened is that the guy took a free throw, it took a bad bounce, and the kid hit an amazing shot, give him some credit.”
ACU continued their defensive intensity forcing 20 Aggie turnovers while having 16 of their own. However the key difference was the 22 points scored off those turnovers while the Aggies scored just nine off of turnovers.
“That’s how we live and breathe,” Tanner said. “We continue to play top notch mid-major basketball all the way through the rest of the semester, so we just have to keep getting better and stay focused. We talk about being a goldfish all the time and having a ten second memory. We have to let this one go and get focused for the next one against UTA.”
Leading the way for the Wildcats were senior guards Reggie Miller and Coryon Mason both with 18 points, giving Miller a career high. Junior forward Airion Simmons posted his first double-double of his career with ten points and ten rebounds. Senior guard Mahki Morris matched a career high 15 points and senior guard Damien Daniels posted a career high nine assists. Sophomore forward Cameron Steele posted a career high 11 points as well.
Despite the loss, Tanner feels confident about his team and feels the team is constantly improving and getting better.
“We were better today than we were against Utah,” Tanner said. “Our goal is to be better on Tuesday at UTA than we were tonight. We gave ourselves a chance, it just didn’t happen.”
ACU will stay on the road for one last road game on its three-game road trip. The Wildcats take on the University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks on Tuesday at College Park Center at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.