ABILENE - In a season full of heartbreaking losses, Saturday night's might have been the worst of the lot for the ACU Wildcats as they dropped a 75-70 overtime decision to Tarleton State at Moody Coliseum.
The Wildcats' ninth straight loss to the Texans dropped them to 11-11 overall and 5-9 in the Lone Star Conference, while the Texans improve to 14-6 and 7-5. ACU is now in ninth place in the with only four games to play, including three on the road beginning with Wednesday night's contest against Midwestern State in Wichita Falls.
Six of ACU's nine conference losses have come by six points or less, including four by either one or two points. Just last Saturday the Wildcats dropped a 65-64 decision at Eastern New Mexico, but the loss to the Texans stings more because the Wildcats had a chance to take a huge step toward a berth in the LSC Post-Season Tournament with a victory over the Texans.
And for much of the night it looked like the Wildcats would be able to grab that win, especially when they took a 43-33 lead with 13:44 to play on a 3-pointer by Eric Lawton. But the Texans immediately ripped off an 8-0 run over the next 3:07 to creep back to within 43-41 at the 10:51 mark.
The rest of regulation was back-and-forth with neither team holding more than a five-point lead. The Texans, in fact, took a 61-58 lead with 1:42 to play on a 3-pointer by De'Andre Upchurch. ACU's Eric Lawton answered just 34 seconds later with a 3-pointer of his own to knot the game at 61-61.
ACU's Parker Wentz was whistled for a foul on a loose ball with 44 seconds to play, but Chucky Guy missed the front end of the one-and-one free throw situation. But Lawton threw the ball out of bounds as he was going to the ground, giving the Texans the ball back with a chance to take the lead.
Coleman Furst - who along with Upchurch and Chucky Guy hit big shot after big shot in the second half and overtime - made the Wildcats pay, burying a mid-range jumper with 27 seconds to play to give the Texans a 63-61 lead.
But on the Wildcats' next possession, Steven Werner tied the game with a driving dunk at the 15-second mark. Guy's short jumper with five seconds to play was short and the game went to overtime.
The Texans blitzed the Wildcats in overtime, hitting 5 of 8 shots from the field, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range to pull away. Guy had five points in the overtime period, Furst had a 3-pointer and Upchurch hit a shot while falling in the lane as the shot clock expired to give the Texans a 75-70 lead with 16 seconds to play.
Lawton finished with 20 points for the Wildcats, while Werner had 17 points and nine rebounds. Guy - who played for ACU head coach Joe Golding and was a teammate of Lawton's at Arkansas-Little Rock - had 19 points as did Furst and Upchurch.