ACU easily dispatched the visiting Arlington Baptist Patriots in Moody Coliseum on Saturday, 88-42.
With 22 team assists and six players scoring in the double digits, head coach Brette Tanner was very pleased with the team’s performance as a whole.
“It comes down to the assisted baskets,” Tanner said. “We are playing together, sharing the ball, turning down good shots for great shots. I think that’s the big thing, that we continue to do that. We can just share the basketball, move, and play together. When you turn down good for great, it usually goes in. And when it doesn’t, there is someone right there.”
The Wildcats opened the game off strong on defense, not allowing the Patriots to reach double digits until 12 minutes into the first half. By that time, ACU was already at 21 points and seven assists, setting the tone for how the game would be played. Those first 12 minutes were a prime example of how Coach Tanner wants the Wildcats to play.
“We had 18 assisted baskets at Northern Arizona, we had 19 the other day, and tonight we had 22 assists,” Tanner said. “So if we can keep doing that, then we are going to score at a higher rate right? That’s what it’s all about. Sharing the basketball and playing together. That’s something that we weren’t doing and we are doing now, so I hope that is something that continues.”
Along with the 22 team assists, the Wildcats also forced 22 turnovers on defense. ACU also forced the Patriots into committing three shot-clock violations. Tanner was once again impressed with how his team performed on defense.
“Defensively, we turned them over 22 times,” Tanner said. “That’s two games in a row we have forced 20 or more turnovers. That’s kind of a staple of our program. That’s another thing we hadn’t been doing, and we found a way to get it done.”
When asked about what his team could have done better, Coach Tanner only pointed to a short four minute stretch in the second half.
“Overall there was one small segment in the second half where I was not really pleased with how we executed,” Tanner said. “If we separated into four minute games, that was the only one we lost. We turned the ball over five times in those four minutes. I think we got sloppy, we looked at the scoreboard, you can’t do that. You have to continue to work and get better.”
Other than those four minutes, ACU was in control the entire game, not allowing Arlington Baptist to be in the lead at any point during the contest. At the end of the first half, the Wildcat’s were exactly 50 percent from the field, with that number continuing to increase, ending in 54 percent of their 67 shots from inside the 3-point line going in.
After three consecutive dominant performances, Tanner knows that things will only get more difficult, but is fully aware of what is needed to be done in order to perform well against their next matchup, Big-12 Conference team Kansas State.
“K-State should win the game on Tuesday, but we’ve won games like this,” Tanner said. “We go in there with the mentality like we don’t care what is supposed to happen, we are going to go in there and compete. This team is better prepared to try and go up there and compete than we were when we went to A&M. What the outcome is, we’ll see. But I’m excited.”
The Wildcats travel to Manhattan, Kansas to face off against the K-State Wildcats at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and the Big 12 NOW Network.