A 20-0 second-half run Thursday night by Nicholls State was the difference in the game as the Colonels knocked off ACU, 79-60, in Southland Conference men's basketball action at Stopher Gym.
The loss drops the Wildcats to 11-18 overall and 2-10 in Southland play, while Nicholls improves to 12-12 and 9-6. The Wildcats will close out the road portion of their first season at the NCAA Division I level on Saturday with a 1 p.m. game at McNeese State in Lake Charles, La. After Saturday's game, ACU will be off until next Saturday (March 8) when it closes out the season with a 3 p.m. game against Incarnate Word at Moody Coliseum.
The Wildcats trailed Nicholls 33-27 at halftime, but outscored the Colonels 7-1 in the first 2:29 of the second half with the run culminating in a teardrop floater in the lane from Parker Wentz to tie the score at 34-34. But from that point on the night belonged to the Colonels, who proceeded to rip off a 20-0 run over the next 5:56.
T.J. Carpenter gave the Colonels the lead back at 36-34 with a layup at the 16:44 mark, and that was the start of the 20-0 game-changing run for Nicholls. ACU finally stopped the bleeding with 10:51 to play with a 3-pointer by Julian Edmonson that cut the Colonels' lead to 54-39.
ACU would get to within 63-52 with 4:27 left on a pair of free throws from Austin Cooke, but the Colonels closed the game on a 16-8 run to seal the victory.
Nicholls shot 63.6 percent from the field in the decisive second half as the Colonels hit 14 of 22 shots, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range. Carpenter led the Colonels with 18 points, while Jeremy Smith had 17 and Dantrell Thomas 14.
Parker Wentz led all scorers as the Wildcat sophomore scored 20 points to record his fourth straight game with at least 20 points. The Wildcats' leading scorer on the season, Wentz hit 6 of 9 shots from the field, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range to give him 73 3-pointers on the season, tied with Bryan Heaps (1992-93) for the eighth-most in a season in ACU history.
Wentz added five assists, two rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes of play, the sixth time this season he's played at least 40 minutes (he played 41 in ACU's double-overtime loss at Southeastern Louisiana on Jan. 11). Cooke was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 12 points to go along with six rebounds and one steal.
Information for this story provided by ACU Athletics.