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LETU men's, women's basketball teams defeat Mississippi College

LONGVIEW. December 6, 2013— The LeTourneau University men’s and women’s basketball teams both defeated Mississippi College on Thursday night.

LeTourneau University sophomore Chris Hynes hit a 3 pointer with less than a second left to propel the men’s basketball team to a 60-57 win over Mississippi College.

The three points by Hynes were his only ones of the second half after scoring 16 in the first half. To set up the game-winning shot, LeTourneau senior Justin Jones hit a driving layup to tie the contest at 57. Then, on the ensuing possession after a missed shot by the visiting Choctaws, YellowJackets’ sophomore Ladaria Brown got his hand on the ball and swiped it out of the hands from the MC player with just three seconds to go.

After a timeout by veteran LeTourneau head coach Bob Davis, the Jackets called on Hynes to deliver the game-winning shot. The Missouri City, Texas native hit a similar shot, last season, as part of a comeback and send the game into overtime en route to an 81-79 win over the Choctaws.

Hynes was joined in double digits by Brown, who scored 18 – including 16 in the final 20 minutes and senior Chad Williams, who added 10. The win improves the YellowJackets to a 2-3 on the season and 1-1 in the American Southwest Conference.

Mississippi College was led by Lakin Ford and Willie Williams, who had 12 and 10 points, respectively to lead the Choctaws.

The contest was close throughout as it was tied four times and the lead exchanged hands seven times. For LeTourneau, like the women, they over a sluggish first half with shooting 50% from the field in the final 20 minutes and held the Choctaws to 36.7% shooting.

In the opening half, twice, LeTourneau built six-point leads but MC came back with a 6-0 spurt to close out the half for a 31-25 lead. Eventually, the Choctaws stretched the advantage to eight but that did not faze the veteran LeTourneau squad. Leading the comeback was Brown, who hit a 3 pointer and made two free throws to cut the deficit to three, 38-35, with 16:03 to play. The Choctaws took the lead back to seven, 42-35 but there was no nail in the coffin as Brown, twice, hit 3 pointers to cut the lead to three.

Then, on three occasions, the lead would grow for the visitors to six but an 8-1 run brought the YellowJackets back to tie the game at 57 with 1:11 to play. The resiliency of LeTourneau set the stage for the game-winning shot by Hynes.

 LeTourneau is back in action on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m., when they host Louisiana College at Solheim Arena.

The LeTourneau University women’s basketball team started the second half on a 20-5 run en route to a 65-52 win over Mississippi College on Thursday night at Solheim Arena in Longview.

The YellowJackets (4-1, 2-0 ASC) overcame being down 10 – 17-7 with 7:50 to play in the first 20 minutes- scoring 13 of the final 18 points of the first half to head into the halftime break with momentum and just a two-point deficit, 22-20. The momentum carried LeTourneau into the second half, who shot 50% (14-for-28) from the field and 88.2% (15-for-17) from the free-throw line for the final 20 minutes.

“I was very pleased with our second half effort tonight. After a sloppy first half we were able to pick up the intensity and find some rhythm a few minutes into the second half,” said LeTourneau University head women’s basketball coach Corey Thomaston. “Our desire is to improve daily and sometimes that comes within the same game. Our ability to finish plays and make free throws in the second half was the difference tonight.”

LeTourneau continued to showcase its balance scoring with 13-different p layers contributing a point to the win. “Our bench play was huge tonight with great efforts from a number of young ladies,” said Thomaston. The LeTourneau bench outscored its MC counterparts by a 27-15 margin.

The YellowJackets got a team-high 14 points from Julencia Curtis, who was joined in double digits by Ashley Fajardo, ,who had 10 points. Curtis also blocked three shots and altered many others; plus, Alexis Wighaman and Ashley Stephens each had two blocked shots in the win.

The Lady Choctaws (2-2, 0-2 ASC) went on a 10-0 run midway through the first half for a 17-7 lead. In the run, five of the points came from Dominique Walker, who hit a 3 pointer and made a pair of free throws. Walker finished the contest with a double double, scoring 14 points and grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds in the defeat. She was joined in double digits by Cara Beverin, who scored a game-high 15 points for MC.

Back-to-back baskets by LeTourneau’s senior Julencia Curtis tied the game at 24 with 18:35 to play for just the third tie in the contest. Then, following the fourth tie of the contest, junior Rebecca Stewart knocked down a 3 pointer to put the YellowJackets up by a 29-26 margin with 12:59 to play.

The 3 pointer fired up the LeTourneau team as they went on a 15-0 run to blow the game wide open. In the run, Stewart was joined in the scoring by four of her teammates. For nearly the rest of the game, the YellowJackets would hold a double-digit advantage.

LeTourneau is back in action on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 1 p.m., when they host Louisiana College at Solheim Arena.

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