Patriots Fluster ACU Wildcats but Fall in Last Three Minutes

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Tuesday February 18, 2014

The Arlington Baptist Patriots (13-11) dropped a tough battle to the Abilene Christian Wildcats Tuesday night in Abilene, Texas 66-80. 

The Patriots jumped off the game with two wide open looks that they could not capitalize on, however, it became evident that the Wildcat defense was not anticipating the Patriots to come out swinging.

Consequently, in just 14 minutes of play, Junior Shooting Guard Raphael Garcia managed to shoot 50% from long range and totalled 16 points in the half, scoring 22 on the night.

The two ball clubs traded buckets for much of the first half and the Patriots grabbed a five point lead with 5:44 remaining in the first half.

Closing out a half is something the Patriots will have to improve on in order to compete in post-season play as they will undoubtedly face some close games where every possession will matter. In similar fashion to the final minute of the last few games, the Patriots allowed their opponent a series of runs and a three at the buzzer – going into the locker room down by nine, 36-45.

Junior Hugo Rodriguez and Raphael Garcia led the team in scoring during the first half, however in the second half with pressure from the ACU defense Garcia got off only five shots, making two of them, while Rodriguez (who played most of the half with 4 fouls), could not manage to put up points down low against the Wildcats’ towering defense.

Were it not for Joshua Green, much of the second half would have been an even greater difficulty for the Patriots, but the Junior Guard from McKinney, Texas showed up big, scoring all of his 11 points in the final 20 minutes of play and even brought the team within 4 with three minutes to play. 

Unfortunately for the Patriots, leading scorer and rebounder Jeremiah Ford fouled out with 5 minutes of game clock remaining, while Sophomore Guard Johnny Shrake had already managed to pick up his five personals allowed just five minutes prior (3 fouls in 1:05 seconds).

Thus, the Wildcats surged back and matched Green’s jumper to pull back ahead by 6, while their defense forced Senior Point Guard Simeon Brinkley to turn the ball over two times in the next 15 seconds, leaving the Patriots down 12 with 1:51 left on the clock.

Point Guard Parker Wentz for the Wildcats had a great night, especially down the stretch where his team needed him as he hit clutch free-throws and a three pointer in the final minutes to ice the game 80-66.

The Patriots fall to 13-11 on the season but not without some major positives to look at, for though the night was not in their favor, they managed to play their first NCAA DI opponent to a 14 point margin, leaving the home fans asking themselves who in the world this small school was from Arlington.

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The Patriots resume play Friday at home against SWIDC at 7:00 pm