Just as they've done all season, the ACU Wildcats never gave up. But as they've done so many games in Lone Star Conference play, they couldn't quite close the deal.
ACU battled back from a 17-point second-half deficit to Midwestern State at 55-55 with two minutes to play, but the Mustangs' Kevin Grayer converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:29 to play to lead the first-place Mustangs to a 60-55 win over ACU at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The loss drops ACU to 11-12 overall and 5-10 in LSC play, while the Mustangs improve to 17-5 and 13-2.
ACU's hopes for a bid to the LSC Post-Season Tournament took a big blow with the loss and a Texas A&M-Commerce win at Incarnate Word and Texas A&M-Kingsville's home win over Tarleton State. ACU is in 10th place in the league, 1.5 games behind the eighth-place Lions and Javelinas for the tournament's final spot.
The Wildcats will be back in action Saturday at 4 p.m. when they take on second-place Cameron at Aggie Gym in Lawton. Cameron improved to 10-5 in the LSC on Wednesday with a 76-72 overtime win at Angelo State.
The Wildcats' five-point loss was their sixth LSC loss by six points or less and seventh overall loss in that manner.
Midwestern was running away with the game midway through the second half when Thomas Corbin buried two free throws to make it a 50-33 Mustang lead with 9:08 to play. But the Wildcats responded just as they've done all season with a big run to get back into the game.
ACU ripped off a 22-5 run over ensuing 7:05 to tie the game at 55-55 with 2:03 to play. Eric Lawton – who had been pretty silent for most of the game – had 10 points in the run, while freshman Parker Wentz had six with two 3-pointers. Steven Werner had four points and Dosh Simms two in the run that tied the game.
Lawton scored the final seven points in the run with two driving layups and a 3-pointer with 2:03 to play that knotted the game at 55-55.
But on MSU's ensuing possession, Grayer was fouled by Lawton and his shot counted for a 57-55 lead. His free throw made it a three-point game with 1:29 to play.
Lawton missed a 3-pointer with 1:!6 to play, but ACU still had a chance when Derrell Gibbs missed a jumper and Simms cleared the rebound with 41 seconds to play. Lawton missed a tying 3-point attempt, but Simms tapped the rebound out to Wentz, whose 3-pointer with eight seconds to play bounced off the side iron. Gibbs grabbed the rebound and Grayer was fouled with two seconds to play. His free throws accounted for the final score.
Lawton finished with 17 points (13 in the second half), while Elliott Lloyd had 13 and Wentz 10 off the bench.
Information for this story provided by ACU Sports Information.