WMU struggles in 2nd half, beats buzzer to win 5th straight 54-53

WMU needed a strong push late in the 2nd half, and a buzzer beater to extend their winning streak to 5 games.

After the first half, WMU led 33-21 thanks in part to 13 turnovers by the Panthers. A balanced scoring attack helped pace the Broncos to that 12 pt lead, with the leading scorer being Darius Paul with a mere 7 pts. Allan Chaney led High Point with 8 points. The key stat of the half would probably be the 6-12 (50%) FT shooing by the Broncos, including 4 straight misses, 2 of which being on the front half of a 1-and-1.

High Point would come out of the half on a 9-2 run to close the score to 35-30. After both teams traded baskets, a Dejuan McGaughy layup made it 39-37 WMU with 14 minutes to go. A minute later, a Panther 3-pointer would make it a 40-39 High Point lead. High Point would stretch their lead out to 4 with 11:28 to go before WMU would slowly whittle that down to a tie ball game at the 7:30 mark.

After more trading baskets, High Point trailed by two with just under 4:20 to go. However, a turnover led to a Panther breakaway. The result? Nate Hutcheson blocking a poor layup attempt followed by a huge Brandon Pokley 3 to extend the lead and awaken the University Arena crowd.

High Point would regain the lead at 53-52 and a stalemate ensured. WMU would get the ball back with 20 seconds to go, and after a timeout, Austin Richie would drive and make a reverse lay-up to give the Broncos the lead. A Panther miss as time expired sealed the 54-53 win.

The Broncos only shot 26.1% in the 2nd half, a large part is due to the Panthers switching to a zone defense. Hutcheson finished with 9 points and 3 huge blocks. Shayne Whittington finished with 4 points, but had 10 rebounds and 2 blocks to help stuff the stat sheet. Brandon Pokley and Darius Paul led the Broncos in scoring with 12 and 10 points respectively. No other player had double digit points for the 5-1 Western squad.

Up next? Oakland, who will be playing their 7th straight road game, the last one of their road stretch.

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