ABILENE — This is one the YellowJackets will certainly take, but learn from at the same time.
LeTourneau University’s men’s basketball team held off host Hardin-Simmons, needing overtime to secure its first American Southwest Conference victory of the season on Saturday with a 97-86 win over the Cowboys.
“Well, we played some great basketball for 41 of 45 minutes today,” Jackets coach Dan Miller said after his team improved to 8-3 overall, 1-1 in the ASC. “We let our guard down and missed some layups, and had untimely turnovers the last four minutes of regulation.”
The YellowJackets had a 16-point lead with 5:24 remaining in regulation after Justin Moore hit a three-pointer, but HSU (4-8, 0-3) outscored LETU, 20-4, the rest of the half to send it to overtime.
John Argue scored with 3:44 left in overtime to give the Jackets an 82-77 lead. Layton Sharp’s triple on the Cowboys’ next possession pulled Hardin-Simmons within a bucket. The YellowJackets used an 8-1 run to take a 90-81 lead on Argue’s lay-in with 1:45 to go. Moore sank four free throws in 15 seconds, and Andrew Eberhardt hit two more with 30 seconds on the clock to extend LETU’s lead to 12.
Argue finished with a season-high 28 points, four blocks and two steals, and grabbed eight rebounds. Nate West had 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block. Moore scored 17 points, going 8-for-8 from the free throw line, and had two steals. Eberhardt had 11 points, four rebounds and three assists.
“Freshman John Argue played big inside, and Nate showed great senior leadership for our young team,” Miller said.
Argue went 3 of 3 from the field in overtime. West hit a triple, and sank 3 of 4 free throws in the extra period. Moore was 6-for-6 from the stripe in overtime.
Kyle Brennon scored 24 points, grabbed seven boards and had three steals and three assists for HSU. Chris Barrett added 12 points, seven steals, seven rebounds and four assists.
The YellowJackets shot 48.5% from the floor and 43% from three-point range. LeTourneau was 12 of 28 from long distance. The Cowboys shot 47.6% from the field and 24 percent from 3-point range. Hardin-Simmons was 0-for-8 from the three-point line in the second half and 6 of 25 overall.
LETU went 19-for-25 at the stripe, including an 11 of 12 effort in overtime.
Kyle Matthews scored eight points and pulled down nine rebounds, while blocking one shot for the Jackets, who shot 55.6% in the first half.
The YellowJackets held the Cowboys to 30.8% shooting in the opening half.
“We played some good defense, other than the last four minutes of regulation,” Miller said.
HSU outscored LETU, 52-38, in the paint in a game where the lead changed hands four times and the two teams drew even four other times.
“I was very pleased with the way things went from the last four minutes to refocusing right away in overtime to seal the win,” Miller said.
LeTourneau will host Ozarks at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.