CBI: Western Michigan rallies to stun Wyoming

Gregory Shamus

David Brown's 3-pointer with seconds left in regulation forced overtime, ultimately snapping Wyoming's 23-game home win streak against nonconference teams.

Yeah, it's just the CBI, another wacky bracket that leads to nowhere special. But it's postseason basketball and still a privilege to be included. Western Michigan is the last MAC men's basketball team playing and with a trip to Laramie, they made sure to hang on as long as possible.

I was amazed to find this game on TV. I probably would have missed it altogether but I was flipping around channels to see what was on and came across AXS TV, and there it was. Much of the first half was obstructed by the preceding game, another CBI game between George Mason and Houston that also went to overtime. So it looks like there is a theme developing here.

WMU seemed like they were doing everything possible to hang around with the Cowboys, and at one point it looked like Wyoming would start running away with a lead. With about 15 minutes to go they kept pushing the lead to eight points, and on every subsequent possession WMU would respond with points. It was enough to stay in the game, but never felt like enough to win.

The final series of events was a little nutty. Down two points, WMU had possession with 43 seconds left. As the shot clock wore down, David Brown slashed to the basket and his little runner didn't sink. The ball went out of bounds off Western under their own baseline. With 11 seconds left, Wyoming threw the deep inbound pass to a streaking Josh Adams, who tried to throw down a game-sealing dunk but was fouled by Brandon Pokley from behind, who almost (and could've) been called for a flagrant since he didn't make an attempt at the ball. Adams made the first free throw, Wyoming's coach called a timeout, and Adams' second attempt bounced off. WMU brought it down, was fouled (since the Cowboys had some to give), and on the inbound it was David Brown again, redeeming himself with an open 3-pointer in the corner.

I should mention that WMU never led in the second half. And in overtime, they never trailed.

I was almost certain that Wyoming would put that win in their back pocket and advance, which means that those guys also thought so, and when they had to suck it up and play five more minutes, WMU was clearly the more energized and focused team.

Shayne Whittington had a big game: 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Brown, who seemed to keep coming up with big shots, finished with 17 points, and Nate Hutcheson had 12 points, four steals and three assists (with no turnovers).

So WMU is in the CBI semifinals along with George Mason, Wright State and Santa Clara. And as they reshuffle the pairings every round after the quarterfinals, it was announced that Western will travel to George Mason for a Wednesday night game.

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