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MAC Men’s Basketball Recap: Toledo Rockets at Western Michigan Broncos

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After a frustrating start to the season, the Broncos get their first MAC win.

NCAA Basketball: Charleston Classic-Western Michigan vs Villanova Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

After taking 6-4 lead early in the first half, the Broncos never trailed. The Toledo Rockets came into the game on a roll, but seemed disinterested from the get go. I guess they figured they could just show up and beat the lowly Broncos.

At times, it looked like they might be right. Even though Western would jump out to a double digit lead many times in the game, Toledo would creep back in, getting within 5 or so until the last time.

At the half, WMU led 42-37 after one such Rockets run. Johnathan Williams had 9 off the bench to lead the Rockets at the break.

Thomas Wilder and Reggie Jones led the Broncos at the half, with 10 and 12 points, respectively. It was a trend that would continue.

Wilder was more aggressive taking the ball to the basket and creating opportunities for himself and others. I think that’s a key for the WMU offense going forward.

Western Michigan had the lead 61-49 at the 12 minute mark, and a very telling play happened for Toledo. After some sloppy play, Steve Taylor Jr. fell down, and casually chucked the ball out to Nate Navigato for the 3. Hardly an ideal play, but it showed a certain amount of confidence that indicated the Rockets thought that they were the much better team.

The Rockets eventually closed the game to 63-59, before WMU took final control of the game. The last rally was led by the youthful exuberance of the WMU freshman and sophomores, with the aid of the Bronco veterans.

If you are a Toledo fan, I wouldn’t take too much out of this game. The Rockets didn’t play their best. They certainly have some things to work on, but the effort wasn’t there tonight.

If you are a WMU fan, I would take a lot out of this game. It might just be the confidence and continuity building game that the Broncos need.

The Broncos shot an amazing 70% from the floor, and 70% from beyond the arc. That kind of game is magical, just like the football season. You can’t expect it every time. However, it’s something to build on. A 50% shooting Broncos team is an extremely tough out.

Nate Navigato continued his emergence, and led the Rockets starters with 16 points. Taylor Jr. phoned in 13 points and 10 rebounds. Williams came off the bench to lead the Rockets with 19 points.

All 5 Broncos scored in double digits. Thomas Wilder led the old guard with 19, and Reggie Jones led the new guard with 20. This was the performance I have been waiting for, where both the new and the old put together a complete game.

Toledo moved to 9-7 on the season and head to Central Michigan.

Western Michigan moves to 5-10 and hosts Kent State.