ABILENE – In a season full of close calls and what-ifs, the ACU Wildcats suffered one more such loss Saturday afternoon as they dropped a 59-56 decision to Incarnate Word in the season finale for both teams at Moody Coliseum.
The loss ends the Wildcats' first season at the NCAA Division I level at 11-20 overall and 2-12 in the Southland Conference. The Cardinals, meanwhile, finish their first season at the Division I level at 21-6 and 9-5.
The Wildcats had a chance to send the game to overtime, but in a fitting end to their season, Julian Edmonson's 3-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the front rim, sending the Wildcats home with their 20th loss of the season.
ACU trailed Incarnate Word by as many as nine points midway through the second half before James Pegues scored eight points in a three-minute span t help the Wildcats pull to within 53-49 with 4:31 to play.
Edmonson got the Wildcats to within two points at 55-53 on a layup with 1:16 to play, and after a layup by Kyle Hittle pushed the lead back to four points, Parker Wentz answered with a three-point play to make it a 57-56 game with 31 seconds to play.
ACU's Michael Grant fouled Sam Burmeister with 24 seconds to play, and the UIW freshman missed the front end of the one-and-one with ACU's Austin Cooke grabbing the rebound. Wentz brought the ball up the floor and drove into the clogged middle of the lane where his shot was blocked by Anthony Horton with Hittle grabbing the rebound.
Hittle made both free throws with just a little less than five seconds to play, setting up ACU's last-gasp at tying the game. Edmonson took the inbounds pass after a UIW timeout and raced up the floor, firing up a 3-pointer that missed the mark just before the buzzer sounded.
Wentz led the Wildcats with 17 points as he shot 5 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 7 from 3-point range. Pegues came off the bench to score 12 as he and Wentz were the only two Wildcats to finish in double figures.