Western hosted Aquinas College to start the 2014-2015 campaign and defeated the Saints 87-57. The Broncos offense jumped into the mix quickly, starting the game on a 15-2 run. That offensive production never quit for the team all afternoon, with really impressive performances from guards Austin Richie and David Brown. The team finished the game shooting 59%.
Richie had a career day, going 10-11 from the field and 5-5 from beyond the arc, and finishing with 28 points. Combined with Brown, the Broncos starting guards went 18-21 from the field. This back-court is going to be a pretty great one-two punch going forward for Western
Just like against Kalamazoo College, Drake LaMont got the fifth starting nod behind Tava, Haymond, Brown and Richie. LaMont performed well, looking fairly confident in his first regular season game accumulating seven points and six rebounds. His rebounding numbers will continue to be important for Bronco successes.
LaMont was the first to be subbed for, when redshirt sophomore and forward Kellen McCormick got to see some playing time. Freshman guard Thomas Wilder also performed well off the bench, moving particularly well offensively without the ball. Wilder ended the game with four points and three assists. As the game became more of a blow-out the game became a chance for a lot of bench players to see time.
Midway through the first half, Aquinas went on a concerning run, cutting into the Broncos lead, but Western was able to respond and led 48-26 at the half. Broncos head coach Steve Hawkins commented that the team was having some problems defending Aquinas' screens but were eventually able to adjust.
The Saints' also challenged Western defensively with a press, but the Broncos were able to counter with speed and solid passing. WMU did have far too many turnovers however, finishing the game with 16. Against better opponents, the Broncos will pay more dearly for losing the ball this much. Rest assured Hawkins will focus on this for Wednesday's tough match-up against the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies.