ACU women Katy-bound despite senior night loss, men still in the hunt


Game recaps from Wednesday:


Stephen F. Austin did pretty much whatever it wanted to do Wednesday night and the ACU Wildcats were the victims as the Lumberjacks rolled to a 76-56 win over ACU on Senior Night at Johnson Coliseum.

The decisive win pushed SFA’s home record to 87-4 over the last five seasons and gave the Lumberjacks a program record-tying 16 home victories in 2017-18. The Wildcats, meanwhile, lost for the fifth straight time in Nacogdoches dating back to 1982.

ACU never led in the contest as the Wildcats shot just 37.5 percent from the floor in the first half (30 percent from 3-point range), committed 13 turnovers and fell behind 44-21 at halftime. ACU finished the game with 23 turnovers and shot just 44 percent in the game (22 of 50). The Lumberjacks, meanwhile, shot 50 percent from the floor (27 of 54), including 38.1 percent from 3-point range (8 for 21).

Sophomore B.J. Maxwell tied his career high with 13 points in a strong effort off the bench for ACU.

Despite the loss, the Wildcats are still alive for the eighth and final spot in the Southland Conference Post-Season Tournament field. But they’ll need some help getting there. Central Arkansas defeated Sam Houston State in Conway, Ark., Wednesday to clinch the seventh spot in the tournament field, leaving just one spot open.

ACU enters Saturday’s regular-season finale at Incarnate Word tied for eighth with McNeese and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 7-10 in the league. However, the Wildcats don’t hold a tiebreaker advantage over either of those teams, so they’ll need help from some other teams in the league to reach Katy.

First and foremost, the Wildcats have to snap their current four-game losing streak Saturday and beat Incarnate Word to reach 8-10 in the league. Then they need some help in the form of Lamar going to Lake Charles, La., and beating McNeese (that would make McNeese 7-11) and Corpus Christi losing at Houston Baptist, a loss that would also drop the Islanders to 7-11.

The Wildcats (15-15 overall and 7-10 in the league) will close the regular season Saturday at 3 p.m. at Incarnate Word, which beat HBU, 83-71, Wednesday night to improve to 7-20 and 2-15. HBU ¬– which will play a pivotal role in ACU’s post-season tournament chances – falls to 6-24 and 2-15 with the loss.


Wednesday night, the Wildcats lost their regular-season home finale to Stephen F. Austin, 78-52, at Moody Coliseum, but shortly after returning to the locker room, New Orleans helped ACU qualify for its first Southland Conference Championship Tournament by edging Southeastern Louisiana, 74-71.

The loss dropped the Lady Lions' conference record to 7-10, eliminating them from postseason contention as they sit 2.0 games behind the seventh-place Wildcats with only Saturday's games left to play. Southeastern also cannot catch McNeese for the eighth and final tournament spot since the Cowgirls swept their two-game season series.

ACU (15-12, 9-8 Southland) will play its final regular-season game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Incarnate Word, which it defeated earlier this month.

SFA buried 10 3-pointers on 18 first-half attempts in taking a 43-24 lead at halftime, and went on to win the third and fourth quarters with Marissa Banfield scoring a team-high 17 points off the bench. ACU was led by senior Sierra Allen with 13 points in her final Moody Coliseum appearance and tied sophomore teammate Dominique Golightly for the team lead in rebounds with seven.

Senior Taudenciah Oluoch also hit double figures in her last home contest, making 4-5 shots and two free throws to finish with 10 points and five rebounds.

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