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ACU Celebrates Wildcat’s NCAA Win



ABILENE, TX – Abilene Christian Wildcat fans gathered at the new Siggie Pavilion on campus to celebrate the university’s win against the University of Texas in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  The crowd cheered as ACU’s Zach Carlyle introduced team members and coaching staff, who gave them a behind the scenes look at the season.  Joe Pleasant, a forward on the team, who scored the final points in ACU’s first March Madness win against the University of Texas described for the crowd what he was thinking at the crucial moment at the free-throw line, “Well, I knew my other teammates they all believed in me, the coaching staff they had faith in me, and at the end of the day that game wasn’t won off of my two free throws. Just knowing that in the back of my mind I just knew I was gonna make those free throws.”

The 14 seed-Wildcats claimed the title of Cinderella after the first-round, upset victory over number 3 Texas Longhorns with a final score of 52-51.

But as Pleasant mentioned, the victory was a team effort. This became apparent as the crowd and team chanted for the conference MVP Damian Davis.  Davis was humble, thanking his team and community for their support through the season.

The return to the tournament and ACU’s first win gained the university national recognition as the victorious underdogs of the first round.  But two days later the Wildcats lost in the second round of the conference to UCLA, falling 20 points short of advancing, with a final score of 47-67.

Despite the loss, this fairy tale might still have a happy ending. ACU’s head coach Joe Golding says he’s excited about what this season means for the future, “We got a chance to celebrate and let the country know that you can do great things at Abilene Christian. You don’t have to be at the university of Texas you don’t have to be anywhere else in the country you can do amazing things at Abilene Christians and I’m just so proud of these guys.”

Between the two games more than 5-.5 million people watched the Wildcats play in the tournament.  ACU estimates the value of the national media exposure at 200 million dollars.  After ACU’s upset win and subsequent media coverage, the university’s website crashed from overwhelming visits.  ACU’s President closed yesterday’s celebration with gratitude…and excitement for what’s to come.   “There’s no limits to what we can accomplish with God’s favor, and this has been a wonderful, wonderful reminder. So all of us can not wait till next year in the new Moody, when were gonna pack that arena and nobody is gonna want to come play in the new coliseum against Abilene Christian University. Go Wildcats!” Schubert said.

Last summer, as universities around the country anxiously watched for the effects of the pandemic on enrollment numbers, ACU cheered when they had one more new student enrolled for this school year, compared to the previous year.  Admissions staff will wait to see if ACU’s March Madness performance will attract more students for next year.