LeTourneau Men’s Basketball Grabs 85-84 Win At East Texas Baptist
MARSHALL, Texas – Needing late-game heroics, junior guard Nate West would provide a game-winning layup with 2.5 seconds remaining as the LeTourneau University men’s basketball team pulled out a thrilling 85-84 road victory over East Texas Baptist University at Ornelas Gymnasium on Tuesday, January 8.
Sporting a 9-5 overall record, LETU is now 5-2 in the American Southwest Conference while the Tigers dropped below .500 to 6-7 overall and 4-3 in the ASC. In the past four meetings between ETBU and LETU, no game has been decided by more than 10 points as the four contests have seen the YellowJackets outscore the Tigers by a total of 374-373.
“That was one of those games where we are just thankful to get out of the gym with a win,” said head coach Dan Miller in a post-game interview. “We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, had a lot of defensive breakdowns, and didn’t move the ball like we usually do on offense.” “I credit ETBU for making some good shots down the stretch and am thankful we did just enough to win.” “We need a few good days of practice to be ready on Saturday.”
How It Happened:
Three-point shooting would be on-point for LeTourneau in the opening minutes as three of the first four made buckets by LETU would come from behind the arc to open an 11-2 lead on the Tigers.
The LETU lead would grow to 11 following a Caleb Loggins layup before seeing East Texas Baptist use a 9-2 run to cut the lead down to just four at 15-11 with 12:58 left in the first half.
LeTourneau’s lead would be completely lost at the 10:32 mark following a Spencer Cochran triple as the Tigers would take their first lead of the game at 20-18 as part of a 14-2 ETBU run to put LETU in a 29-20 hole.
Closing within three at 31-28 with 4:31 left before halftime, LeTourneau would see East Texas Baptist make one more push to extend their lead back out to eight by score six of the next nine points before conceding the final five points of the first half to trail by three at the break.
Loggins would hit a fast-break layup following a steal from Justin Moore to allow LeTourneau to re-take the lead at 38-37 as a back-and-forth second half would ensue.
11 lead changes would be had in the opening 4:03 of the second half as Elijah Gerber would break a 49-49 deadlock to put LETU up 51-49 in a much quicker paced period.
LeTourneau would manage to maintain their lead for the next few minutes before a Robby Dooley layup allowed ETBU to claim a 55-54 lead as the lead changes would be far from over heading into the final 13 minutes of the game.
A 10-0 YellowJacket run allowed LETU to grab a 67-59 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining as LeTourneau would appear to weather the storm before facing yet another series from a pesky Tiger team.
Going scoreless over the next 3:57 saw LETU allow ETBU to score six straight points to cut the deficit down to two before a Christian Seidl layup broke the drought to put the YellowJackets back up two possessions which would be followed up by a West three to push the lead back out to seven.
LeTourneau would answer ETBU on the offensive end over the next few possessions by trading two-point field goals for threes to go up nine following a Moore layup as LETU appeared to have control with 2:37 left in the game.
Eight straight points by ETBU would pull the Tigers within a single-point at 81-80 with 28 seconds remaining as East Texas Baptist would be forced to foul and try to extend the game.
Moore would go to the line and hit both free throws which would be followed up by a LeTourneau foul on the defensive end that allowed ETBU to run a pair of free throws.
The fouling would continue as LeTourneau would miss both opportunities to push the lead back out to three before being called for a foul with eight seconds remaining that allowed ETBU to re-take the lead at 84-83.
West would take the ensuing inbounds pass and drive the length of the court before cutting across the lane to avoid an offensive foul and hit a layup with 2.5 seconds remaining as the YellowJackets for the second time this year would take a late lead in Marshall.
Avoiding the same outcome as earlier this season against Texas Lutheran, LETU would stand tall on the defensive end and force a pass under the ETBU basket that would not allow for a shot to be attempted before time expired to escape with the victory.
Points off turnovers (25-14) and fast break points (23-13) would tell the story of the night for LeTourneau as the YellowJackets would make up for a 13-of-22 (59.1 percent) performance from the free throw line.
The game would feature a total of 20 lead changes and seven ties as only once would either team be able to mount a double-digit lead (LETU at 13-2).
Four players would wind up in double-figures for the YellowJackets led by a game-high 26 points from Loggins to go along with six rebounds. West would add 20 points and 10 rebounds while Seidl (15 points) and Moore (11 points, eight rebounds) also helped pace LETU.
A week of road games concludes for LeTourneau on Saturday, January 12 when they travel to Richardson, Texas to take on Texas-Dallas at the UTD Gymnasium at 3:00 p.m. The Comets will enter Saturday’s contest on short rest as UTD will entertain East Texas Baptist Thursday evening in Richardson.
Big Run Propels LeTourneau Men’s Basketball To 14 Point Home Victory Over McMurry
LONGVIEW, Texas – Holding a 40-36 halftime advantage, the LeTourneau University men’s basketball team would use a 22-4 second-half run to overcome a 43-42 deficit and pull away from McMurry University for an 87-73 victory at Solheim Arena on Saturday, January 5.
LeTourneau bounces back from Thursday’s defeat to improve to 8-5 overall and 4-2 in the American Southwest Conference while McMurry slipped to 4-11 overall and 1-5 in the ASC.
“The guys did a great job of getting out in transition in the second half and sharing the ball,” said head coach Dan Miller in a post-game interview. “Any time you have 23 assists to five turnovers you have a great chance to win the game which we did today.” McMurry kept fighting and sticking around, so I’m proud of the fact that our guys finished the game strong to earn a much-needed victory.”
How It Happened:
A slow start by the YellowJackets would allow McMurry to overcome two early free throws from junior Nate West to score eight straight points to claim an 8-2 lead at the 17:37 mark in the first half.
The hot start by the War Hawks continued throughout the next few minutes of the game as Isaac Moreno would put MCM up 15-7 after five minutes of action before taking their largest lead of the game at 16-7 just seconds later.
Breaking out of their early slump, LeTourneau would score 12 straight points by getting out in transition and turning McMurry turnovers into points as Andrew Eberhardt would cap off the run to give LETU a 19-16 lead and force an MCM timeout.
LeTourneau would maintain their small lead through the halfway point of the first half to take their largest lead of the first half at 27-20 before seeing McMurry tie the game at 27-27 with 7:19 left in the first half.
Following a layup by West to allow LETU to regain the lead, the YellowJackets would see McMurry six straight points to take the lead at 33-29 as things would go back and forth once more in the opening period.
Holding a 35-34 lead with 2:15 left in the first half, LETU would get a C.J. Bird layup and West triple to go up 40-36 in the final minute before giving up a jumper to Colin Taylor to close out the first half while holding a four-point advantage.
Another strong start for McMurry to begin a half saw the War Hawks score seven of the first nine points to reclaim the lead at 43-42 with 17:18 left in the game in what would wind up being their last lead of the game.
Christian Seidl would kick off a 22-4 run as the YellowJackets scored nine consecutive points before giving up a layup to McMurry to hold a 51-45 lead.
The run would continue with 11 more points before another McMurry bucket as the lead would grow to a game-high 19 points at 66-47 with 10:43 remaining.
Despite the large run from LeTourneau, McMurry would not go quietly as driving layups would lead to the War Hawks applying full-court pressure and forcing the YellowJackets to try and chew clock.
LETU’s lead would drop to 13 at 75-62 with 4:25 remaining but use a West three to go back up 16 and manage to keep MCM from getting any closer than 12 at 85-73 with 97 seconds left.
Points off turnovers would prove to be one of the biggest keys for LETU to pull out the victory as 14 McMurry turnovers led to a 21-8 advantage for the YellowJackets in points off turnovers.
Three-point shooting would off for LeTourneau throughout the day as LETU would connect on just two triples in each half while shooting only 19 percent (4-of-21) in the game.
Overcoming the three-point woes would have all five starters making double-figures led by a career-high 22 points and five assists from Bird while Justin Moore scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the year.
The first rendition of the Highway 80 rivalry between LeTourneau and East Texas Baptist University will take place at Ornelas Arena in Marshall, Texas at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 8th. Both LETU and ETBU will enter Tuesday’s game tied for second in the ASC East Division as the Tigers are coming off an 83-76 defeat to Hardin-Simmons University.
LeTourneau Women’s Basketball Grabs 79-75 Overtime Victory Over McMurry
LONGVIEW, Texas- After giving up a late lead in the fourth quarter, a pair of stellar offensive performances allowed for the LeTourneau University women’s basketball team to pull out a 79-75 overtime victory over McMurry University on Saturday, January 5.
The YellowJackets pick up their first American Southwest Conference victory of the season to improve to 4-10 overall and 1-6 in American Southwest Conference action. The loss drops the War Hawks to 4-11 overall and 1-5 in ASC action.
“I am extremely proud of the way the girls fought today,” said head coach Cassi Rozanski in a post-game interview. “We battled through some adversity along with some ups and downs throughout and had girls step up when we needed them most.” “Today was a complete team effort that allowed us to pull out the win!”
How It Happened:
It was a slow first quarter as both teams scored just nine points between them within the first five minutes of play which saw MCM hold a 5-4 lead.
Alexandria Thorne would be quick to change that as she started her career day with back-to-back three-pointers from to allow the YellowJackets to double up McMurry 18-9 at the end of the first.
The YellowJackets carried their momentum into the second period, scoring their third triple in a row this time by Keauna Whitfield to allow LETU to grab a 12-point lead at 21-9.
Despite five turnovers in the period, the potent YellowJacket offense was able to keep themselves on top as they headed into halftime with a 34-22 advantage.
LeTourneau would take their largest lead of the game at 43-29 coming with 5:25 left in the third quarter after Sha’Donnaver Young sank four straight free throws.
The War Hawks were able to cut the lead down to seven as they headed into the fourth quarter facing a 50-43 deficit after scoring seven of the final nine points of the period.
Full court pressure would be the story of the final ten minutes of regulation as the War Hawks were able to rattle the YellowJacket offense after falling behind 57-43 with 8:21 left in regulation.
A 10-0 McMurry halfway through the final period pulled the War Hawks within three at 57-54 with just over five minutes remaining.
LETU did their best to avoid the late-game comeback, but MCM would break through after a pair of free throws to deadlock the game at 66 with just 21 seconds remaining.
There would be no score change following the free throws both teams would get an opportunity but be unable to break the tie to send things to overtime.
Much of the overtime period would be back and forth as the teams traded the first 12 points to leave the game tied at 72 with 1:49 remaining.
A 5-0 run by the YellowJackets ensued with Olivia Eweni getting a layup and free throw followed by a pair of Young free throws which was enough to clinch their second home victory in three tries.
The YellowJackets recorded a new season-high in scoring by finishing with 79 points. Thorne played a significant role in that scoring a career-high 25 of those points.
Whitfield grabbed herself her second double-double of the season after scoring 24 points and hauling in 14 rebounds.
Free throw shooting both down the stretch in regulation and again in overtime would prove to play a role in the outcome as LETU would connect on 27 of their 37 (73 percent) of their attempts while McMurry hit 21-of-32 (65.6 percent) of their tries from the charity stripe.
The YellowJackets will return to American Southwest Conference action on Saturday, January 12 as they take on Texas Dallas in Richardson, Texas at 1:00 p.m. The Comets will enter Saturday’s matchup with a 9-3 overall record, and a 4-2 standing in the ASC as both teams turn their attention to ASC East Division play.
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