I'm now going to do what I don't think anyone else has done in Hustle Belt history: a 4:30 am game recap. Bear with me.
Just like the Western Michigan Bronco men's basketball team, I must brave a vast time disparity and (admittedly), a bit of a talent disadvantage (hockey is my thing).
Maybe I'll channel my inner David Brown.
Brown played like a man possessed against the much taller Aggie team, stretching the floor and driving the lane. He shot a paltry 8-16 from the floor, including two huge three's to start the game. He finished with a stout 25 point, 5 rebound, 2 assist performance as the "main guy", with starting center Shayne Whittington suspended for the first two games of the season.
Maybe I can step up like Kellen McCormick.
He had a huge 14 point, 4 rebound performance in Whittington's place tonight. He also had the tough job to defend 7' 5" Aggie center Sim Bhullar. Bhullar only managed 9 points and 6 rebounds while fellow forward Tshilidzi Nephawe had a more manageable 18 point, 8 rebound performance. Again, both are about 7 foot tall. McCormick is 6-9 on a very good day.
It's cold in my room, I need a hot hand like Austin Richie.
He finished 3/3 from the floor, all three-pointers. He hit the double-digit mark with a free-throw late in the game, but only managed 2 assists tonight. He and Brown got great help from Jared Klein off the bench, with a 9 point performance from him as well.
In the end, 5 Bronco players finished with 4 fouls. Their gutty performance on a shorter bench in spite of foul trouble led to a signature win for Western Michigan early in the season. Brown, Richie, McCormick, and sophomore forward Connar Tava all played 29+ minutes and three of the above players were among those 5 Broncos aforementioned.
While the Aggies, who made the NCAA tournament last season, got to the line more often (40 free-throw attempts to 20), the Broncos converted on their chances, shooting 80% from the stripe versus a 62.5% mark for New Mexico State. Western Michigan also made 40% (10/25) of their three-pointers against a mere 1/11 mark from their counterparts.
Up next? Bed, for everyone. The Broncos will be back at it tomorrow at 12:30 AM EST against Rainbow Classic hosts Hawaii, who downed Tennessee State 85-55 in the first game of the tournament. You can watch the game online at BigWest.TV.