ABILENE, Texas – A 15-2 run to start the game would be the start that the LeTourneau University men’s basketball team needed to cruise to an 85-69 road win at McMurry University at Kimbrell Arena on Thursday, January 4.
The win gives LETU a 10-2 overall record and 4-1 mark in the American Southwest Conference along with a four-game winning streak while the War Hawks are now 4-8 overall and 3-3 in the ASC.
“The guys had the defensive intensity early, and that led to our lead early in the first half,” said head coach Dan Miller in a post-game interview. “Alec Colhoff shot the ball very well, and it was good to see Justin Moore get a double-double.” “However, we were sloppy with too many unforced turnovers and needed to clean that up going into Saturday.” “I’m proud of the guys for finding a way to win, and we look forward to practicing tomorrow.”
LETU was efficient from the field throughout the game, jumping out to the early lead by shooting 18-33 in the first half (54.55 percent) and hitting 14 of 30 shots (46.67 percent) in the second half to finish 50.8 percent (32-63) from the field. The Yellowjackets led by as many as 29 points in the game and held a 44-38 advantage on the glass, but were outscored 30-24 in the paint.
Colhoff led all players with a season-high 30 points in the game and went 9-11 from the field which included a six of eight marks from the three-point line. Moore pitched in 13 points and had a team-high ten rebounds while sophomore Nate West scored 20 points to go along with six points and five assists. LaRandall Scroggins, who had 14 points and six rebounds, paced McMurry.
After jumping out to a double-digit lead just 5:30 into the game, LeTourneau would steadily build their lead up throughout the rest of the first half and led by as many as 23 points in the opening 20 minutes. Taking advantage of a weak scoring output by the War Hawks, the YellowJackets utilized a 12-0 advantage in points beyond the arc in the first half to claim a 47-29 lead at the break.
LETU would pick up where they left off to begin the second half, scoring the first seven points of the period to lead by a score of 54-29 and never look back. The substantial lead allowed for the YellowJackets to utilize their bench in the first of a two-game road trip on the weekend, playing a total of 12 players in the game with only two players seeing more than 30 minutes of action on the night. LeTourneau never trailed in the game, allowing the War Hawks to get no closer than the final 16-point margin in the second half after giving up the last 11 points of the game.
ASC cross-division play concludes on Saturday for LETU, playing the back-end of a weekend road trip at Hardin-Simmons University with tip-off set for 4:00 p.m. In a battle of last year’s ASC East and West Division winners, HSU is now 4-9 overall and 2-3 in the ASC this year following an 85-81 home loss to East Texas Baptist on Thursday night.
ABILENE, Texas – Shooting woes coupled with an 18-9 deficit in points off turnovers would prove to be the difference for the LeTourneau University women’s basketball team in a 76-69 road loss at McMurry University at Kimbrell Arena on Thursday, January 4.
LeTourneau is now 3-9 overall and 0-5 in American Southwest Conference play while the War Hawks remain tied for first in the ASC West while improving to 7-5 overall and 5-1 in conference.
“Tonight we had another bad shooting night missing 46 shots,” said head coach Cassi Rozanski in a post-game interview. “It’s hard to beat a good team when you leave that many points out there.” “Once we put things all together we have the potential to be an outstanding team.”
Following a first-half shooting percentage of 32.26 percent (10-31), the YellowJackets would finish just 26-72 (36.1 percent) from the field while hitting only four of 17 shots from beyond the arc (23.5 percent). McMurry was a bit more efficient from the field, going 28 for 66 (42.4 percent) while also hitting four treys (4-20, 20.0 percent). The War Hawks would hold 47-43 rebounding advantage and score 40 of their 76 points in the paint.
Junior Jaila Leaven netted a career-high 20 points while eclipsing the double-digit point mark for the third time in her career which included three triples in the game. Leaven was one of three YellowJacket players to haul in seven rebounds with Keauna Whitfield (15 points, seven rebounds) and senior Savannah Cummings (six points, seven rebounds) also tied for the team lead. Skyler Reyna had a team-high 14 points to lead McMurry.
Points would be at a premium in the early going, with just 11 points scored in the opening five minutes of action which saw McMurry jump out to a 9-2 lead. A Leaven layup and free throw with 2:21 left in the period drew LETU back to within six at 13-7, but five straight points allowed the War Hawks to take a double-digit lead at 18-7 before Leaven added another bucket in the closing moments to put the score at 18-9 heading into the second quarter.
A strong start to the second for LeTourneau saw the YellowJackets get within five at 19-14 with 8:20 remaining in the first half, but a pair of jumpers over the next 45 seconds of action pushed the lead back to 23-14. Despite repeated efforts by LETU to cut into the McMurry lead which saw the deficit get reduced to six or less on three separate occasions, the War Hawks would close out the half with a layup in the final 30 seconds to hold a 34-26 lead at intermission.
McMurry opened up the second half by taking their largest lead of the game at 39-26 following a Reyna jumper in the paint before an LETU run that included a Leaven triple and Sha’Donnaver Young layup closed the gap back to 41-35 with 4:05 left in the quarter. The six-point deficit would be as close as LETU would get in the third, as McMurry outscored the YellowJackets 7-2 in the final 1:28 to reclaim a double-digit lead at 53-42.
Determined to close the gap, LETU scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to get back within six points quickly and would get as close as three at 58-55 on an Ashley Reed jumper with 5:48 left in regulation. A three-point basket along with a bucket off of an out-of-bounds play allowed the War Hawks to go back up by eight at 65-57 with 3:34 left in the game as LeTourneau could not get any closer than five points in the final minutes.
A day of recovery in Abilene will be followed by more American Southwest Conference action for the YellowJackets, who will head across town to take on Hardin-Simmons University for a 2 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, January 6th. The Cowgirls dropped a 78-63 home decision to East Texas Baptist Thursday night and are now 3-9 overall and 1-4 in the ASC.
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