RICHARDSON, Texas – For the second time this season, LeTourneau University men’s basketball sophomore guard Nate West has been named American Southwest Conference East Division Co-Player of the Week for his performance during the week of January 8-13.
Despite only playing once last week, West lit up the scoreboard by dropping a career-high 28 points in the YellowJackets 80-63 victory over Texas-Dallas. The Houston, Texas native hit six threes in the game and hauled in seven rebounds to go along with three assists and one steal. In total, West shot 10-of-18 from the field and played 39 minutes in the game.
West shares ASC East Division Player of the Week honors with Texas-Tyler sophomore Emeka Obukwelu who earned his third Player of the Week award this year by averaging 27.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game as the Patriots picked up a pair of ASC victories at home. Obukwelu went 13-for-15 from the field in a 104-85 win against Belhaven en route to 30 points and eight rebounds before coming up with 25 points and 13 boards in a 93-83 overtime victory over Louisiana College.
LONGVIEW, Texas – Despite being held to just their third-lowest scoring output of the year and 11 points below their season average, the LeTourneau University men’s basketball team pulled out a convincing 80-63 home victory. It was over Texas-Dallas in a battle of top squads in the American Southwest Conference East Division at Solheim Arena in Longview, Texas on Saturday, January 13.
LETU is now 12-2 overall and 6-1 in the ASC while the Comets drop their fifth game of the year to fall to 9-5 and 5-2 in the ASC.
“We got exactly what we expected, which was a tough ballgame played by both teams, and in the end, we made a few more plays than Texas-Dallas to pull ahead and win,” said head coach Dan Miller in a post-game interview with Hayden Henry of the Longview News-Journal. “Our field goal percentage was low for us, and I was glad to see us win a grind it out game.” “Our guys played a little complacent to start the second half, but once we refocused, we were fine.” “We ask Nate West to do a lot for our team, and I was proud of him for setting the tone early when we had trouble scoring.”
UTD, which came into today’s game fresh off a 17-point victory at East Texas Baptist while making 45 percent of their shots from the field on the season, shot a season-low 27.5 percent (19-69) from the floor and made just six of 20 threes. LeTourneau would overcome a poor shooting first-half from the field (12-36, 33.3 percent) by connecting on 14 of 26 shots in the second half to finish with a 41.9 percent shooting percentage while edging out the Comets 45-43 on the glass. Points off turnovers broke by a margin of 16-5 in favor of the YellowJackets, who forced 12 UTD turnovers and scored 24 points in the paint.
West dropped a career-high 28 points in the game, going 10-18 from the floor and hitting six triples while grabbing seven rebounds. Junior Caleb Loggins picked up his fourth double-double of the year after scoring 12 points and a total of 15 rebounds (five-offensive, ten-defensive) and two assists while going a perfect 6-6 at the charity stripe. Freshman Justin Moore also had double-digits, finishing with 13 points and four assists. Texas-Dallas had three players in double-figures with a team-high 17 points coming from Dimitrius Underwood.
LeTourneau lived and died by the three in the opening minutes of the game, scoring the first six points of the contest from long range before seeing a 4:22 scoring drought allow Texas-Dallas to score the next 12 points of the game to lead by a score of 12-6. West broke the drought by hitting back-to-back threes to knot the game at 12 with just over 13 minutes left in the first half as LETU raced out to an eight-point lead following an 11-1 run to force a UTD timeout.
Out of the timeout, LeTourneau managed to score seven of the next nine points to claim a 32-19 lead with 5:47 remaining in the first half, but the Comets refused to let the deficit grow any larger as LeTourneau would be forced to settle for a 38-26 halftime lead.
A pesky Comet squad quickly showed their offensive firepower to open up the second half, scoring 14 of the first 16 points to erase their double-digit halftime lead and trail by one at 41-40. West and Moore took over on the offensive side of the ball for the next several possessions for LETU, scoring seven straight points to push the lead back to 48-40 in a span of 1:21, but saw UTD manage to hang around.
Following a pair of Underood free throws to cut the LeTourneau lead down to six with 10:41 remaining in the game, LETU would use a 6-0 run to get the lead back to double-digits and never look back as the YellowJackets would run away with the victory while leading by as many as 20. The double-digit victory now gives LeTourneau eight of their 12 wins by 10 or more points this season and a perfect 4-0 record inside Solheim Arena.
Things don’t get any easier for the preseason ASC East favorites, who will have a quick turnaround to play their second consecutive game featuring the top two squads in the division in East Texas Baptist University on Monday, January 15th. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. against the Tigers, who will enter Monday’s contest 11-3 overall and 5-2 in the ASC.
LONGVIEW, Texas – The LeTourneau University women’s basketball team fought their way to a one-point halftime deficit to American Southwest Conference East Division-leading Texas-Dallas before eventually falling by a final score of 76-48 at Solheim Arena in Longview, Texas on Saturday, December 13.
With the loss, LETU is now 3-11 overall and 0-7 in the ASC while the Comets remain atop the ASC East standings with a 12-2 overall record and 6-1 conference mark.
“We battled the first half like we wanted to, but that is an excellent Texas-Dallas team, and I knew that it was only a matter of time before they started hitting shots,” said head coach Cassi Rozanski in a post-game interview with Kevin John of KYTX CBS 19. “I tried to prepare us at halftime about what they are capable of, but we just weren’t able to adjust quickly enough.” “The girls didn’t quit, and they haven’t quit on a game yet this year, but we just need to put everything together for an entire game.”
In a game that saw the second half make the difference in the final box score, LETU managed to hit 18 of 58 shots (31.0 percent) in the game and go 6-20 (30.0 percent) from three-point range. Free throw shooting played a vital role for the Comets, getting to the line 26 times compared to just nine for LeTourneau while also holding 52-38 advantage on the glass.
Freshman Keauna Whitfield led the YellowJackets on the day by grabbing 15 rebounds (five offensive) and scoring 13 points while senior Ashley Reed prompted LETU with 14 points and two assists. Jaila Leaven gave LeTourneau three players in double-figures after scoring 11 points and adding two steals and two assists. Guard Victoria Pena led Texas-Dallas by a game-high 23 points and four steals.
Early on in the game, LETU would play the role of aggressor and hold leads of 4-1 and 9-7 thanks in part to five early points from Leaven. UTD got their outside game going towards the end of the first quarter with McKenzie Petty hitting a triple to give the Comets a 10-9 lead, but Reed would answer with a trey of her own to allow the YellowJackets to reclaim the lead. The LETU lead would increase to four in the final minute before a free in the last 30 seconds of the quarter brought the score to 18-15 heading to the second.
A near two-minute scoring drought for both squads to open up the second quarter would finally be broken with a Leaven three to give LETU their biggest lead of the day at 21-15, but the Comets would respond with a 12-0 run over the next 4:33 to take their largest lead of the first half. Whitfield got LETU back on the scoring side of things with a layup with 2:42 left before the half as the Yellowjackets scored the final four points of the half to trail 28-27 at the break.
Three straight three’s by Texas-Dallas quickly gave the Comets a double-digit lead to open the second half, using a 10-0 run to lead 38-27 before Taylor Abbe got LETU back to within nine on a layup. A stifling defense by UTD limited LeTourneau to just eight points in the third quarter on 3-14 shooting while five hitting five threes of their own to take a 54-35 lead before tacking onto their lead in the fourth to pick up the victory.
The busiest week of the year for LETU begins Monday when the YellowJackets host their Highway 80 rivals East Texas Baptist in an ASC East battle with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m. The game will be the first of three games next week for LETU with the final two coming on the road.
HOUSTON, Texas – Making history in a total of 13 events throughout the day, the LeTourneau University women’s and men’s track and field team took part in the first track meet in program history at the Leonard Hilton Memorial Invitational inside the Bill Yeoman Field House in Houston, Texas on Friday, January 12th.
The meet was not scored from a team standpoint and featured numerous NCAA Division I programs taking part in their first track meet of the year. When all was said and done, a total of seven YellowJacket women and 12 YellowJacket men combined to set 13 inaugural school records.
“I was very pleased with our effort today,” said head coach Don Hood in a post-meet interview. “If what our athletes gave today was the foundation for our future, then we are going to build a good program.” “What we discovered today is there is no substitute for experience and time invested in training.” “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I fully believe this group of athletes will give their best to reach their highest level.” “Good performances are bound to follow hard work and desire.”
Events got underway at 11:00 a.m. with Carrye Funk and Rebekah Stevenson competing in the weight throw, with Stevenson recording a mark of 24 feet 11 inches and Funk finishing with a throw of 19 feet 5.5 inches. The only other field event of the day for the women featured three LeTourneau athletes taking part in the long jump as Ro Galloway came away with a top school mark of 14 feet 10.75 inches. Freshman Claire Burson (13 feet, 11.75 inches) and Tori Field (13 feet, 2 inches) also competed in the event for the YellowJackets.
Once things turned over to the track side of things, Field would compete in the 60-meter hurdles and record a time of 10.93 seconds while Galloway ran the 60-meter dash with a time of 8.42 seconds. Freshman Kirstiana Welch finished her only event of the day in the mile run with a time of 6:34.74 while teammate Bridey Davis recorded a time of 7:14.00. Burson and sophomore Lexi Funk concluded the monumental day on the women’s side by competing in the 400-meter dash with Burson recording a 12th place finish with a time of 1:09.98 while Funk came in 13th with a time of 1:15.17.
The LETU men proved to be just as competitive in their respective events, as three YellowJacket athletes would record top-12 finishes. Adrik Kling led LeTourneau in the weight throw with a toss of 31 feet, 8.75 inches followed by Steven McDonnel (29 feet, 1.75 inches) and Judson Iverson (27 feet, 9.5 inches). Field events continued throughout the day for LETU with freshmen Alex Hindman and Austin Parrish both finishing seventh in the pole vault after recording marks of 14 feet, 1.25 inches while junior Arvin Hrushka recorded a school-best 14th place finish in the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 9.5 inches. Nate Berlandier and Keishaun McMillian also competed in the long jump alongside Hrushka, as each finished with a mark of 17 feet, 5.25 inches.
In track events, junior Michael Field put his cross-country skills to work by running in the mile run and finishing with a time of 4:59.17 while Austin Coblentz recorded a time of 5:19.20. Stanley Williams took part in the 60-meter dash and finished with a time of 7.72 seconds while Hrushka recorded a time of 56.10 seconds in the 400 meters.
LeTourneau track and field will next be in action when they take part in the McNeese State University Indoor Invitational in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Friday, January 26th. More information regarding the meet posted on www.letuathletics.com closer to the event.
LONGVIEW, Texas – The wait is finally over for the LeTourneau University women’s and men’s track and field teams. The YellowJackets will compete in their first-ever competition on Friday, January 12 when they take part in the Leonard Hilton Memorial Invitational at the Yeoman Field House on the campus of the University of Houston in Houston, Texas.
Six weeks passed since LETU was initially scheduled to make history by participating in the Dunamis Sports Group Invitational on December 1, 2017, before extenuating circumstances canceled the meet. With the extra time and preparation to get ready for the season opener, LeTourneau will now take 22 athletes to compete in various events on Friday’s meet which will feature athletes from NCAA Division I, II, and III as well as NAIA institutions.
In total, the YellowJackets are scheduled to now compete in five indoor meets before opening up their inaugural outdoor track and field season to begin Saturday, February 24th at the Trinity University Open in San Antonio, Texas.
“A lot of the kids that we are taking tomorrow are new to the sport. So how to go through the warm-up situation, how to go through the check-in process, and how to compete is different than the practice time and will force our athletes to turn it up a notch,” said head coach Don Hood when asked about what to expect from his team in their first-ever meet. “Our more experienced athletes will like this level of competition, and the reason why you become a college athlete is to go against some of the best.” “Most of our athletes that haven’t competed before are competing in field events, and the secret to being great in field events besides ability is repetition.” “It will take time, but I have never seen a group work so hard, and I feel like with time that some good things will happen with this group.”
The meet, which gets underway at 11:00 a.m., will not be a scored meet as officials will not keep team totals. LeTourneau University will send 12 athletes on the men’s side with 10 athletes competing on the women’s side. LETU’s first-ever event will be the weight throw, which will get underway right at 11:00 a.m. and will feature Carrye Funk and Rebekah Stevenson for the women along with Judson Iverson, Adrik Kling, and Steven McDonnel for the men.
Other YellowJacket athletes that will be a part of history tomorrow will include Claire Burson, Tori Field, Ro Galloway, Crystal Jones, Alexis Segura, Kirstiana Welch, and Lexi Funk for the women. For the men, Alex Hindman, Cole Ironside, Austin Parrish, Nate Berlandier, Stanley Williams, Arvin Hrushka, Keishaun McMillian, and Michael Field will compete.
At the NCAA Division III level, athletes qualify for the national meet by posting a top-16 time or mark in their respective event, with the time or target being able to be displayed at any point in the season. Fans will be able to keep track of where LETU athletes stand in their respective event by going to the Track and Field Results Reporting System and clicking on the 2018 Indoor Qualifying lists, or by clicking on the following links: men’s indoor qualifying list; women’s indoor qualifying list
Sports Information Director