ET Basketball: LeTourneau hosts UT Dallas in ASC showdown
So much for saving the best for last.
After mowing through West Division competition at a 5-1 clip, the LeTourneau University YellowJackets open East Division play in the American Southwest Conference against the team tied with them atop the standings today at Solheim Arena.
LeTourneau (11-2) will host UT Dallas (9-4, 5-1) in a 4 p.m. contest in the back end of a twinbill that will also feature the LETU women vs. UT Dallas at 2 p.m.
LeTourneau has won five games in a row, including four straight since the holiday break, heading into today's contest. The YellowJackets are coming off an 87-59 road rout of Hardin-Simmons a week ago in Abilene.
The 'Jackets, who are 3-0 at home this season, are scoring 91.6 points per game and allowing 80.
Five players are scoring in double figures for LeTourneau. Nate West leads the way, scoring 17.2 points to go along with 5.5 rebounds per contest. West, who has started all 13 games this season, is a 34 percent shooter from 3-point range.
Justin Moore (16.5 points, 7.0 rebounds), Alec Colhoff (16 points, 4.9 rebounds), Caleb Loggins (14.8 points, 7.6 rebounds) and Caylab Herrera (13.1 points, 6.2 rebounds) are all big-time scoring threats for LeTourneau, which has knocked down 110 triples this season and shoots 36 percent as a team from beyond the arc.
Dimitrius Underwood leads the way for UT Dallas, scoring 16.3 points per contest and pulling down 6.8 rebounds. Jon Hatcher (11.6 points per game) is the only other UT Dallas player averaging double figures, but Caleb Banks (9.4), Hans Burwiz (8.8) and Reagan Keogh (7.7) are all capable point producers.
UT Dallas is 4-3 on the road this season. The Comets fell to Hendrix (76-68) last week, but bounced back to defeat East Texas Baptist University, 96-79, on Thursday.
LeTourneau won both meetings between the two teams a year ago, earning a 94-83 win at home and a 71-64 victory in Richardson.
The LETU women (3-10, 0-6) hope to snap a two-game skid and break into the win column in conference play, but they'll have to do it against one of the league's hottest teams as UT Dallas brings an 11-2 record (5-1 in conference play) into today's contest.
LeTourneau averages 57.9 points per game and allows 71.3.
Ashley Reed (15.1 points) and Keauna Whitfield (15 points) are the top scorers for the YellowJackets. Whitfield also leads the team in rebounds (9.2). Sha'Donnaver Young (7.9 points, 6.0 rebounds), Savannah Cummings (6.7 points, 6.3 rebounds) and Jaila Leaven (6.5 points) are other top players for LETU.
UT Dallas is paced by Victoria Pena, who averages 15.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per outing.
NOTES: Between games today, LETU President Dale Lunsford will dedicate the new seating that was installed inside Solheim Arena over the holiday break ... The LETU men and women will host arch-rival East Texas Baptist University on Monday, with games slated for 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
(Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports)