December 22nd, 2017 - LUBBOCK – The ACU offense, which has been one of the best in the Southland Conference through the season’s first 12 games, was no match for the nation’s eighth-best defense Friday afternoon as the 21st-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders ran away from the Wildcats, 74-47, in ACU’s final non-conference game of the regular season at United Supermarkets Arena.
Tech (11-1) entered the contest allowing just 59.7 points per game (best in the Big 12 Conference) and held ACU to just 15 first-half points as the Wildcats hit just 5 of 31 shots from the field in the opening 20 minutes. Tech is ranked sixth in the country (No. 1 in the Big 12) in defensive field goal percentage, entering the game holding opponents to just 36.6 percent shooting from the field on the season. ACU finished the game shooting 29.5 percent from the floor (18 of 61) and never could find an offensive rhythm.
Tech jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the game’s first eight minutes before ACU was able to cut the lead to 17-10 with 8:58 left in the half. Hayden Howell scored five of his game-high nine points in the 8-1 run and Drake Green knocked down a 3-pointer to get ACU as close as it would get in the game.
But the Red Raiders closed the half on a 13-5 run to stretch their lead back to 30-15 at the break, and the Wildcats wouldn't get closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
“We’ve played a good non-conference schedule, but there’s no question that Tech is the best team we’ve seen this season,” ACU head coach Joe Golding said. “They’re playing at an entirely different level than anyone we’ve played. They’re so long and athletic that it makes it very tough to score on them. We’ve been able to get the ball inside on almost everyone we’ve played, but their defense made that very tough (Friday). I wish we had given them a better game, but it wasn't meant to be.”
Howell and Tevin Foster each had nine points for the Wildcats, while Jaren Lewis had seven points and eight rebounds.
The Wildcats finish the non-conference portion of their regular-season schedule at 8-5 and begin Southland Conference play next Thursday (Dec. 28) at New Orleans, which won both the regular season and post-season tournament titles last season.
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