ETBU Stuns LETU in Battle for Top Spot in ASC East

Sports

LONGVIEW, Texas – In a high-powered offensive battle of two of the top teams in the American Southwest Conference East Division, the East Texas Baptist University men’s basketball team kept the lead throughout the entire game as they would survive a 96-93 affair to the top ranked LeTourneau University Yellow Jackets. This win puts ETBU in a tie for first place in the ASC East with a 12-3 record overall and a 6-2 conference record. They also gave LETU their first home loss of the season.

It was a career day for Darrice Whitley, who finished as the game’s top scorer with 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting and seven three-pointers. ETBU also had two players collect double-doubles in Robby Dooley (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Jordan Gosey (11 points, 11 rebounds). LETU was led by Justin Moore, who finished with 24 points and six assists. Alec Colhoff (18 points), Caleb Loggins (16 points), Nate West (16 points), and Christian Seidl (12 points) each found themselves in the double-digits.

Collectively, ETBU outshot LETU in both field goal percentage (46.5%-41.3%), and three-point percentage (55.6%-38.5%). They also outrebounded LETU 51-35, scored 14 second chance points while LETU had nine, and dished out 19 assists to LETU’s 16.

Head men’s basketball coach Brandon Curran was impressed with how well his team played during the road win in LeTourneau. “I’m really proud of our guys,” said head men’s basketball coach Brandon Curran. “They made plays all night. They were tough and aggressive. And LeTourneau is a great team. They’ve got a lot of weapons. They can hit really tough shots and their guys battle and compete. I just couldn’t be more prouder of our guys in the way that they fought and the way they believed in each other. It’s just a really special group of guys and I’m just thankful the Lord has blessed them with the gifts that he has and that he brought all of those guys at ETBU.”

The first two minutes would see each team score a couple of baskets to tie the game at four apiece. Whitley would then sink a three-pointer to give ETBU a 7-4 lead at 17:59. ETBU then pushed the lead going on a 13-5 run (16:55-13:27) to lead 20-9. LETU would then answer with a 10-2 run (13:12-9:55) that made it a 22-19 game. A layup by Alan Wilkinson at 9:34 stopped the run only for LETU to tack on four more points to trail 24-23 (8:39). A free throw by Dooley (7:27) was followed by an LETU game-tying layup (25-25) by Moore sixteen seconds later. When Dooley converted a three-pointer (6:55) to have ETBU up 28-25, it would signal a lead that ETBU carried from then on. But it would also set up a sequence of points as both teams would trade buckets for the next three minutes until ETBU led 38-37 with 3:19 left. Whitley’s layup (2:15) and a three by Nathan Fontenot (1:47) made it a 43-37 lead. Colhoff answered with a three with fifty-eight seconds left only to have Gavin Sabo answer with a layup (0:30) to take a 45-40 lead at halftime.

As Landin Brown started the second half with a three to give ETBU a 48-40 edge, the tempo of the game would change. Free throws by Gosey (19:28) gave ETBU a 50-40 lead. For the next six minutes, ETBU and LETU would trade baskets as the Yellow Jackets tried to cut ETBU’s lead to single digits while the Tigers, despite playing with foul trouble, would keep retaining the double-digit lead. During the stretch, LETU would cut the deficit to as close as 60-53 (17:07). Once again, ETBU would extend their lead to as much as 74-59 on a Gosey layup (12:14). Suddenly, LETU caught fire as they would rally with eleven straight points to trail 74-70 (9:14). Whitley answered with five the games’ next seven points (8:25, 7:43) for a 79-72 lead. LETU got layups by Seidl (6:58) and Moore (6:25) only to be answered in between by three’s from Fontenot (6:36) and Westin Riddick (5:55) to lead 85-76. But LETU would not back down as they would answer with an 8-3 run (4:15-3:25) to trail 88-84. Again, it was a three by Whitley (2:55) plus a Gosey bucket (2:20) that made it 93-84. With 1:08 left, Brown would sink free throws that made the score 96-88. After Colhoff would convert a pair of free throws (0:59) for LETU to trail 96-90, they would get a steal and pick up a three-pointer by Seidl with twenty-two seconds left. ETBU couldn’t sink the free throw to secure the win as LETU would have an open door to tie the game with a three. But their final shot didn’t go through and ETBU escaped with the 96-93 win.

ETBU will have a home game this Thursday when they host Louisiana College at 7:30 PM.

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