The Wildcats were unable to weather a second-half surge on Saturday causing them to fall 77-62 to the visiting Sam Houston Bearkats Saturday in Moody Coliseum.
The Wildcats got out to an early lead against the Bearkats, going 3-3 from deep to get up to a nine point lead. This boost in momentum and scoring caused the Bearkats to call an early timeout to try and slow the momentum.
Head Coach Brett Tanner was happy with how his team shot from deep, especially in the first half.
“We shot the ball well, 10-26 from three is good, but we missed the ones late,” Tanner said. “We started off hot and I think maybe when we do that we fall in love with it.”
The Wildcats were again in foul trouble, putting Sam Houston in a bonus with around six minutes left in the first half. Coach Tanner made it clear that fouls should not have caused as many problems as they did against Sam Houston.
“We had some foul trouble, but that shouldn’t bother us,” Tanner said. “We had foul trouble last week and it didn’t affect us, so we just got to make sure we do a better job.”
After ACU established a nine point lead early in the first, the Bearkats slowly regained momentum throughout the half, ending it with a 37-32 over the Wildcats.
Sam Houston continued building upon their momentum from the first half, starting the second half strong and bringing the score to 49-41 early on. ACU was resilient, and kept the shots firing from behind the three-point line.
The Wildcats improved in the second half in regards to fouls, not putting Sam Houston in a bonus until late in the game. The Bearkats were the opposite, committing 10 team fouls to give the Wildcats some easy points from the foul line.
Although ACU controlled their fouls better in the second half, they still ended with 18 team fouls and in turn gave away 17 points from the foul line. Tanner pointed to toughness as the main reason for the Wildcats foul trouble.
“Eighteen fouls, we can’t foul 18 times and put them on the line 24 times and only go 12, that’s a toughness thing,” Tanner said. “They were going in tough, square up to the basket and forced the officials to call a foul.”
Despite the Wildcats making the game harder for themselves through fouls, Tanner still praised Sam Houston’s season so far, and pointed out the need for ACU to wake up.
“They are playing for a conference championship right now, and I think maybe we got a little comfortable,” Tanner said. “We’ve been playing so well we got a little comfortable, but hopefully this wakes us up. I know that locker room is disappointing right now.”
The next few games on the schedule will be a challenge, with the Wildcats playing teams in the top half of the conference standings. Despite that, Tanner is confident in his team to build momentum and get some wins down the stretch.
“I’m not worried about us moving forward, but we’ve got the toughest strength of schedule remaining,” Tanner said.
Up next, the Wildcats hit the road to take on the Grand Canyon University Antelopes for the second time this season on Friday. In their last game, GCU was able to steal a 75-73 win in Moody Coliseum.
Initially, the Wildcats next matchup was schedule for Wednesday against New Mexico State. It has since been announced that the Aggies have suspended all activities for the remainder of the season with their men’s basketball program due to a hazing investigation.
The Wildcats and Antelopes will face each other for the second time this season in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday at 10 p.m. CST, with the game broadcasting live on ESPNU and the ACU Sports Network.