Story contributed by Lance Flemming, ACU Associate Director of Athletics for Media Relations
NEW ORLEANS -- The ACU men's basketball team kicks off its first season of Southland Conference action since the 1972-73 season when the Wildcats play a pair of games in Louisiana this weekend.
ACU will play the Privateers of New Orleans at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Lakefront Arena before playing Southeastern Louisiana at 2 p.m. Saturday at the University Center in Hammond, La. Both games will be broadcast locally on KTLT 98.1 FM.
Prior to Thursday night's game against New Orleans, the Wildcats' last Southland Conference game was a 108-72 loss to Louisiana Tech at Moody Coliseum in March 1973.
The Wildcats (6-8 overall and 0-0 in the Southland) enter Thursday night's contest riding a four-game winning streak, the third-longest current streak in the Southland Conference behind Stephen F. Austin's 10-game streak and Incarnate Word's seven-game streak.
ACU is led offensively by junior guard LaDarrien Williams, who leads the team in scoring at 10.8 points per game and is fifth in the league in assists at 4.0 per game. Junior guard Harrison Hawkins is second on the team in scoring at 10.6 ppg, while sophomore guard Parker Wentz is third on the squad at 10.2 ppg.
Wentz leads the Southland Conference with 37 3-point field goals made and is second in 3-point field goals made per game at 2.8 pg. Wentz is fifth in the league in 3-point field percentage at 44.0 (37 of 84).
The Privateers (3-7, 0-2 Southland) look to rebound from a tough opening weekend on the road, which concluded with an 82-69 loss to McNeese. Matt Derenbecker was held scoreless for the first time this season after averaging 14.4 points per game in his previous five contests.
Cory Dixon achieved career highs in points (24) and rebounds (17) in the loss to McNeese, rounding off a strong opening two games of Southland play where he averaged 22.5 points per game, and 14.5 rebounds. Following his strong weekend, Dixon leads the conference in both points per game, and rebounds per game within conference.
Before playing ACU on Saturday, Southeastern will host Incarnate Word (12-1, 0-0) on Thursday.
Fighting through injuries to key players, Southeastern (5-8, 0-2 Southland) dropped a pair of conference games this past week at McNeese State and Nicholls State.
Junior guard JaMichael Hawkins (11.8 points per game) leads the Lions in scoring. Antonio Benton (11.4 ppg, 6.8 rebounds per contest) is seventh in the conference in rebounding. As a team, the Lions are averaging 68.4 points, on 42.7-percent shooting, and 33.6 rebounds. Opponents are averaging 72.9 points, making Southeastern's scoring margin eighth-best in the conference.
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