The ACU Wildcats ran into a bigger, taller, stronger buzzsaw Saturday afternoon at Moody Coliseum as Sam Houston State pulled way midway through the second half for a 70-51 win in Southland Conference basketball action.
The first national broadcast to originate from Moody Coliseum (ESPN3) was close throughout much of the first half until the Bearkats pulled away late for a 12-point lead at the break. ACU was able to cut the lead to 10 points midway through the second half, but that was as close as the Wildcats would get as they lost for the fifth time in Southland play.
The Wildcats are now 7-13 overall and 1-5 in the Southland, while the Bearkats improve to 14-6 and 6-2 in the league. ACU will be back in action Thursday at 8 p.m. when it takes on Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches.
After trailing by 36-24 at halftime, the Wildcats got the lead down to 40-30 with 16:12 to play on a layup by James Pegues. After a turnover by Sam Houston's Kaheem Ransom, the Wildcats came down the floor with a chance to cut the lead to single digits. But a 3-pointer from Parker Wentz hit off the front iron. James Thomas hit a layup after the media timeout to stretch the lead back to 12 points (42-30), and the Wildcats would never get closer than that the rest of the way.
Sam Houston out-rebounded the Wildcats 30-23 and outscored them 30-18 in the paint.
"We just couldn't get anything easy," ACU head coach Joe Golding said. "They're so long and athletic that we just couldn't find any rhythm offensively. They do a great job on both ends of the floor, and that's why they're one of the best teams in the league. That's where we're trying to get this program, but it's a process."
Jacob Lancaster came off the bench to lead the Wildcats in scoring with 12 points, while adding five rebounds. Wentz scored 11 points -- all in the first half -- while Julian Edmonson also had 11 for the Wildcats.
Information provided by ACU Athletics.