The Abilene Christian Wildcats followed one of their best halves of the season with one of their worst as they allowed visiting West Texas A&M to shoot 59.6 percent with 54 points in the paint en route to a 78-69 defeat Tuesday night at Moody Coliseum.
The loss dropped ACU to 10-9 overall and 4-7 within the Lone Star Conference, while the Buffaloes (13-6) moved a game ahead of them in the standings at 5-6.
ACU could almost do no wrong in the first half as the home team buried close to 70 percent of its shots and connected on 7 of 11 3-pointers, but West Texas hung in there throughout and trailed only by three, 43-40, heading into the break. The Wildcats even led by as many as eight points with 2:22 to go, but three-consecutive turnovers led directly to six Buffalo points and a 40-40 tie game. , however, broke the tie with less than a second remaining with three-straight free throws.
The Wildcats began the second half by making their first two 3-point attempts that preserved their three-point lead, but West Texas soon took off on a game-changing 13-5 run that featured four buckets by Kennon Washington and a trey from Tez Dumars that gave the Buffaloes' a seven-point lead at 62-55.
sank another 3-pointer for the Wildcats coming out of the third media timeout and then laid one in from the paint to make it a one-point game at 64-63, but ACU would not get any closer as WT continued to dominate in the paint.
The Wildcats also hurt themselves at the free-throw line and during one stretch late in the second half – trailing only by five points – they missed three consecutive front ends of a one-and-one and finished the game 10-of-16.
The Buffaloes shot over 63 percent in the first half and 55 percent in the second half, helped immeasurably by its inside shooters who rarely if ever missed. Washington led all players with 21 points on 10-15 shooting, while Donald Sims – the nation's leader in field goal percentage – was 8-of-9 for 17 points and eight rebounds.
Darnell Jackson finished with 12 points and Dumars had 13 off the bench.
Lloyd paced the Wildcats' offense with 18 points, followed by with 13, Simms with 11, Werner with 12 and with 10.
Simms also pulled down 12 rebounds in recording his fourth consecutive double-double of the season.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday at 5 p.m. (CT) at Eastern New Mexico (7-11, 4-6 LSC). ACU fell to the Greyhounds on a last-second layup, 62-60, earlier this season at Moody Coliseum.
Information for this story provided by ACU Sports Information.