|Final - 3.8.2012||1||2||Total|
|(8) Western Michigan Broncos||30||42||72|
|(4) Kent St. Golden Flashes||35||41||76|
Close game? Sure, we'll call it that. It looked close, at least. The fact that KSU put the game almost out of reach in the second half required the Broncos to stage some kind of ethereal comeback, and it almost happened, because many a senior on this team realized, oh crap, this might be the end of our playing careers.
The near-comeback seemed to galvanize around the ejection of Matt Stainbrook, who looked to plant an elbow into the face of Michael Porrini. Intentional or not, it looked pretty bad. But against a team like KSU, a big bulky center is not the type of person you need to win. Just be smart and stay within yourself. And for the most part, they did that, but it was just those Golden Flashes' veteran players who closed out the game.
Justin Greene may have gotten some heat for being named first team All-MAC as others may have deserved it, but how's 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists smell to you? Randal Holt and Chris Evans each provided 13 points while Porrini was a jack-of-all-trades with 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds. WMU's 57.8 eFG% was helped out by a balanced effort from five players who hit double digits: Mike Douglas, Flenard Whitfield, Demetrius Ward, Nate Hutcheson and Stainbrook.
It's all over for the Broncos. All that hope and promise after last year's surprise MAC West ... well a surprise losing record is what followed that. Gone are Douglas, Whitfield, Ward and Muhammed Conteh as seniors. Next year is going to be another gut-check season for Steve Hawkins' team.
And Kent State moves on to play Akron in the semifinals. No big deal, just a rematch of last year's overtime championship game. Also, I think they're crosstown rivals.