GEORGETOWN, Texas - Despite an outstanding defensive effort, holding Wayland Baptist to just 20 field goals, the Pirates dropped their home opener Tuesday night, 66-55.
Defense controlled the first half as neither team was able to get into an offensive rhythm. Southwestern used backdoor cuts and points from the free throw line to build a slight lead, but back-to-back threes by Wayland Baptist's Reggie Fondren gave the Pioneers the lead back with 10 minutes to go.
Southwestern hung close but wasn't able to eclipse the Pioneers as they trailed 31-25 at the break. SU scored eight points from the free throw line, converting on every opportunity they were given, while WBU went 5-9.
The Pirates had great looks offensively, using solid play execution to get to the hoop, but were unable to convert them to points as the Pioneers steadily built their lead to 10, 39-29 with 14 minutes to play. Michael Cantu brought SU within six by draining a three while getting fouled and converting the free throw just 30 seconds later.
With back-to-back threes from Nicholas Atiee and Travis Kurtz followed by a jumper by Willie Foreman, Jr. in the lane Southwestern had pulled within two, 43-41, with 11 minutes to play, forcing WBU into a timeout.
Despite a strong defensive effort by the Pirates, Wayland Baptist remained just out of reach as the clock wound under five minutes. The Pioneers did just enough from the free throw line to close out the game 66-55, handing the Pirates their fourth loss of the year.
Southwestern struggled from the floor, shooting just 32.1% from the field and 34.8% from long range while WBU posted a shooting percentage of 54.1%, 57.1% from three point. The Pirates were -6 in rebounds but +5 in turnovers on the evening.
Cantu led the way offensively for Southwestern with 14 points while Foreman added in 10 and a game high six rebounds. WBU's Fondren led all scorers with 16 points.
The loss drops SU to 0-4 on the season while WBU improves to 5-4. The Pirates open SCAC action this weekend, facing Austin College in Sherman on Friday night. Game time is set for 8 p.m.