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LETU men's, women's basketball teams defeated by Louisiana College Saturday

LONGVIEW, December 9, 2013—The LETU men’s and women’s basketball teams were both defeated in their matches against Louisiana College.

Louisiana College guard Kevin Cottonham scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Wildcats to a 75-66 win over the LeTourneau University men’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon in Solheim Arena.

The YellowJackets (2-4, 1-2 ASC) were led by senior Justin Jones – who had his second double double of the season – who had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat. He was joined in double figures by sophomore Chris Hynes and senior Chad Williams, who scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.

The Wildcats (3-1, 3-0 ASC) were led in scoring by Cottonham, who was joined in double figures by Anthony Gaines and Kevin Lewis, who added 13 and 11 points, respectively.

After a pair of early five-point leads by the YellowJackets, the Wildcats went on a 6-0 spurt and never trailed again. Twice, LeTourneau would cut the deficit to as little as one, in the first half, but never regain the lead.

The YellowJackets found themselves trailing 58-41, in the second half with 16:11 to play, before they worked the deficit down to three at 67-64 with 3:29 to play when sophomore Ladaria Brown made the first of two free throws. However, to answer the threat by LeTourneau, Cottonham scored four-consecutive points to put the margin at 7 and the YellowJackets would draw no closer.

Despite the loss, LeTourneau shot 51% from the field and outscored the Wildcats, 38-36 on points in the paint and 16-8 on second-chance points. The Wildcats made 16 of 24 free throws compared to a 9-for-14 effort by the YellowJackets.

Next, LeTourneau will be idle for the week as the student-athletes will be preparing for final exams before returning to the court on Thursday, Dec. 17 when they travel to University of Texas-Tyler for a 7:30 p.m. tilt.

The LeTourneau University women’s basketball team dropped a heartbreaking 87-83 decision to Louisiana College in an American Southwest Conference matchup on Saturday at the Solheim Arena.

LeTourneau (4-2, 2-1 ASC) landed three in double figures – senior Alexis Wighaman with 15, senior Ashley Fajardo with 14 and junior Rebecca Stewart added 12 – in the loss. Wighaman had her second double double of the young season with a game-high 12 rebounds.

Louisiana College (4-1, 3-0 ASC) had five in double digits including Danisha Allison, who scored a game-high 17 points. Karylon Thornton added 16, Kaci Willis and Skyla Chenevert each scored 13 and Shelby Stewart poured in 11 for the Wildcats.

“I'm extremely proud of the effort our ladies displayed this afternoon. Louisiana is a fine program and we took them to the very end,” said LeTourneau University head coach Corey Thomaston.

The contest went back and forth as neither could sustain a lead and the momentum until the visitors went on an 11-0 run over the final 4:22 to close out the contest. Wighaman put the YellowJackets up 83-76 on a three-point play. However, the visitors answered with the game-deciding run to pick up the win.

“We'll learn and grow from this with the understanding that this is a marathon run through our league and one outcome defines nothing about us and our program,” said Thomaston. “We are pushing this thing forward and these ladies understand that we are just getting started.”

In the game, the two teams combined to shoot 75 free throws as 48 fouls were called in the contest. Louisiana College made 29 of 40 free throws and LeTourneau shot 24 of 35. Both teams received strong play from its bench as the Wildcats outscored the YellowJackets by a 36 to 33 margin.

LeTourneau found itself behind as much as 11 in the first half before closing out the half on a 7-3 spurt to tie the game at 37 at the halftime break. Five of the seven points came from freshman Ashley Reed to spark LETU. The YellowJackets scored the first five points of the second half only to see the visitors claw back with the next five to tie the game at 44.

The game would be tied on three more occasions until Fajardo hit her second of back to back three pointers that put the YellowJackets up by a 66-63 margin with 8:56 to play. LeTourneau added to its lead when freshman Bria Goodman hit her first collegiate trifecta to stretch the lead to 69-63 with 8:37 to go. Eventually, LETU was able to stretch the margin to eight on a pair of occasions before a late run by Louisiana College brought the visitors back for the win.

Next, LeTourneau will be idle for the week as the student-athletes will be preparing for final exams before returning to the court on Thursday, Dec. 17 when they travel to University of Texas-Tyler for a 5:30 p.m. tilt.

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