ABILENE, Texas — The Wildcats came into Saturday needing to bounce back from a tough loss on the road and they delivered in dominant fashion. Much like their game against SLU, the Wildcats brought defensive efficiency from the start and earned a wire-to-wire win over Central Arkansas. Kolton Kohl helped set the tone for ACU with an offensive rebound and putback to take the 2-0 lead and the team never looked back.
The Wildcats move to 4-1 and remain in fourth place, a game behind Nicholls who sits at 6-1. Sam Houston remains atop the conference at 6-0 and SFA moved to 5-0 with a win over Lamar this afternoon.
Kohl got the scoring started with an offensive rebound and putback on the opening possession that set the tone for the game
After the Bears cut the Wildcats lead to one, the Wildcats got back-to-back layups, including a fastbreak opportunity off a steal by Joe Pleasant, to push their lead back to five.
ACU used a 16-4 run over the course of six minutes in the first half to stretch their lead to 17 points with just over three minutes left in the half.
The team closed the first half with steals on two of the Bears final three possessions and held the 14-point advantage at the break.
ACU opened the second half with an 8-0 run and forcing turnovers on three of the first four Bears possessions.
Clay Gayman hit a three to give the Wildcats a 22-point lead and UCA would never cut the lead to less than 20 from that point on.
Cameron Steele, Logan McLaughlin, and Paul Hiepler combined to go 6-9 from deep in the second half.
After struggling some on offense early, the Wildcats came out of the half on an 8-0 run to push the lead over 20 and the Bears were never able to recover.
With injuries to Coryon Mason and Immanuel Allen, Tobias Cameron came off the bench to score a career-high eight points in the first half. Cameron would not score in the second half, but he totaled six assists, four rebounds and three steals on the night.
After shooting poorly from deep in the first half, the Wildcats connected on 9-17 from three-point range in the second half to help build their lead.
The Wildcats totaled 29 assists on the afternoon which is the third most in the DI-era and the most ever against a DI opponent.
The team forced 25 turnovers in the game, above their nation-leading 22 per game on the season.
The 48 bench points was their second-highest total of the season behind the 51 points the bench scored against Howard Payne.
Damien Daniels took his turn to do a little bit of everything for ACU with six points, five assists, a season-high four steals, and two rebounds.
The Wildcats will remain at home but have a tough test ahead as they welcome an SFA team that is 5-0 in conference and on a six-game win streak. The two teams will tip off at 7:30 p.m. on January 27, immediately following the women’s game.