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MAC Men’s Basketball Recap: Ohio Bobcats at Western Michigan Broncos

Ohio jumped out to an early lead, but as they have all season, WMU battled back. This time they won.

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

Ohio was led early by Jason Carter and Kenny Kaminski, who scored 8 each as OU jumped to a 16-7 lead at the first TV timeout.

Doug Taylor, the Bobcat’s sophomore provided some muscle in the middle, grabbing 2 early rebounds and affecting others.

Meanwhile, the Broncos were struggling to score. At the 7:56 break, WMU was shooting 30% from the floor, and only 1 of 8 from beyond the arc.

Ohio eventually built the lead to 21, before a spirited WMU comeback late in the first half closed the gap to 44-38 at halftime.

At the break, Ohio was led by Kenny Kaminski with 14, while Tucker Haymond had 11 for the Broncos.

All things considered, the Broncos had to feel pretty good going into the locker room. They weren’t shooting well, 40% from the floor and 28% from three, while the Bobcats were shooting 53% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc.

To start the half, a Wilder pick and layup closed the gap to 4 before a nifty move by Jason Carter ended the 17-0 run by the Broncos.

After Jaaron Simmons and Wilder showed why they are two of the best point guards in the league, Jordan Dartis hit back to back threes to put the Bobcats up 56-45 at the first TV timeout of the second half.

The longer Ohio let WMU stick around in that 10 point range, I kept getting the feeling that the Broncos would heat up, and the Bobcats would cool down.

Simmons was fouled/turned it over, depending on your perspective, and that brought us to the 11:56 TV timeout. Ohio still led, 62-54.

At the 7:55 break, the Broncos had closed to 71-64. The two headed monster at center was playing well. Seth Dugan has been playing with more confidence since he was given the title of starter, and Drake LaMont has been playing with more energy. Now maybe coach Hawkins can write a giant R on LaMont’s right hand so he realizes he has one and the Broncos will really be cooking at the center position.

Their play helped put Kaminski in foul trouble, who had to leave the game with 4.

The Broncos went on another run, led by Wilder, Bryce Moore and Jarrin Randall. They were only down by 2 going into the 2:45 break, but Wilder was fouled just prior. Once they resumed action, Wilder promptly tied it up.

Kaminski and Wilder traded jumpers to tie it up at 83 with less than 2 minutes to play. Wilder was helped by the rim, which you expect on the home court.

Ohio called a timeout, saving freshman Carter from a freshman mistake.

Dartis put on the line, and hit both, giving the Bobcats the lead. Bryce Moore faked right and went left on a great move to tie it up.

Wilder got the rebound after a Simmons miss on a tough drive, and the Broncos called timeout with 40 seconds left and the chance to take the lead. Wilder drove, and Kaminski fouled, putting him out of the game.

Wilder hit one of two, giving the Broncos their first lead of the game.

Carter missed a layup, and Dugan dove to the floor. The refs called a jump ball, and it was Western Michigan’s possession.

Wilder got the ball, seemingly a mistake by the Bobcats, and they were forced to foul. Though maybe it wasn’t a mistake, because Wilder was 8 of 13 from the line. He nailed both.

15 seconds to go, Ohio had the ball, down by three. Carter let it fly for the tie, in and out. Haymond got the rebound, hit both free throws, and the Broncos got a much needed win, 90-85.

In a well played game all the way around, the Bobcats hit 52% of their shots, and 48% from beyond the arc. The Broncos hit 49% of their shots, 33% from beyond the arc. They held the rebounding edge, 36-33.

Carter led the Bobcats with 21 points, and added 5 rebounds, which tied the team lead. Simmons had a great game with 18 points and 6 assists. As all great point guards, stats don’t tell the whole story. It was good Kaminski tonight, he scored 17 on 5-7 shooting, 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.

Wilder led the Broncos to the win, with 29 points and 7 rebounds. It was a team effort, with Haymond scoring 20 and grabbing 6 rebounds. Dugan and LaMont combined for 16 points and 12 rebounds. They hit 6 of 9 shots. As a duo, they are giving the Broncos a formidable presence in the middle.

The Broncos moved to 7-14 on the season, and 3-6 in the MAC. Next up they travel to Mt. Pleasant and take on Central Michigan.

Ohio drops to 13-7 and 5-4 in the conference. They host Akron in a season defining game next.