LETU Basketball: YellowJackets knock off UT Tyler, 101-78
Jan. 27, 2018 at 10:07 p.m.
LeTourneau and UT Tyler opened Saturday's ASC East division showdown at a blistering, back-and-forth pace.
Then the YellowJackets started dropping shots and took control of the tempo from there.
Behind a total-team showing, with a few big performances scattered in, LeTourneau used a big run in the first half to take control and another in the second to ice it in a 101-78 win over UT Tyler at Solheim Arena.
Saturday's game marked the end of the first run through East division play with the YellowJackets (16-3 overall) moving forward with a 10-2 record in conference action, matching ETBU for first place heading into the final stretch.
"It's the way we like to play with a fast tempo as long as we're taking smart shots and I think we did that tonight," LeTourneau head coach Dan Miller said. "We knew that Tyler plays that way as well. I think they average 89 points a game.
"We knew that defense was going to be big tonight so we focused on that, getting rebounds and taking care of the basketball."
Nate West led five scorers in double digits in LeTourneau's fifth triple-digit game of the season with a game-high 28 points. The sophomore guard rounded out a double-double night with 11 rebounds and had eight assists and two steals.
Caleb Loggins followed with 24 points to go along with seven rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots.
"He was strong tonight," Miller said of Loggins. "He usually gets a lot more minutes but had two fouls early so we had to keep an eye on that.
"He came in the second half and went the distance. He does so many little things out there besides scoring and rebounding."
Alec Colhoff went 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, including two in the second half to seal it, and finished with 14 points.
Christian Seidl followed with 13 points for the YellowJackets, who had 46 points in the paint overall.
"We think Christian is one of the most underrated players in the ASC," Miller said. "He can do so many things that affect the game for us and just plays hard every possession.
"He's one of the best six mans in the league."
Caylab Herrera also filled the stat sheet, finishing with 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a steal.
LeTourneau finished with a 23-9 assist-to-turnover mark in the win with UT Tyler (13-6, 6-6) turning in only eight points off the turnovers. The YellowJackets came away with nine steals, leading to 15 points off turnovers and had 20 second-chance points on a 41-35 advantage on rebounds.
After a back-and-forth start, UT Tyler build its largest lead of the night at five points early before LeTourneau, on 8-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-3 from deep, went on a 19-9 run to take a six-point lead. The YellowJackets led 46-38 at halftime.
Herrera had a putback and with UT Tyler in foul trouble, LeTourneau built its lead to 15, 61-46, with 13:27 left. The YellowJackets finished 14-of-16 from the free-throw line.
West sparked LeTourneau's second and final run of the night with a three and Colhoff, both off assists from West, drained two threes in a 13-4 run for a commanding 21-point lead.
Now, the second half of East division play begins with a familiar face on Thursday: UT Tyler.
It sparks a road-heavy stretch for the YellowJackets to end the regular season with just one home game left on the slate.
"It's tricky when you turn around and play a team you just played," Miller said. "We need to be ready for this second half and it's going to come down to the final few games.
"It starts with Tyler and we know we're going to get their best at home. We've got to be road warriors. We've been pretty good on the road with this group locking in so we know down the stretch that's what we have to do."
UT Tyler jump-started a big first quarter with a 10-0 opening run and rolled from there, taking an 82-61 win over LeTourneau to open Saturday's doubleheader.
The Patriots, on 64 percent shooting, built a 23-8 lead after the first and led 39-23 at halftime.
Alex Kochner had a 13-point, 14-rebound double-double to lead the Patriots, who move to 12-7 overall and 8-4 in ASC action. Carissa Spike led with 15 points.
Freshman Keauna Whitfield had a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double in the loss for the YellowJackets, who fall to 3-16 overall and 0-12 in the ASC.
Alexandria Thorne led all scorers with 19 points and Jaila Leaven chipped in 11 points.
The two teams square off again on Thursday with the women kickoff off action at 2 p.m. in Tyler.
Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h