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Western Michigan Broncos vs. Oakland Golden Grizzlies Basketball Final: Solid Performance Gets WMU a Win On First Road Trip

WMU knocked off Oakland in their barn behind a great showing from F Connar Tava and a defense that shut down the Golden Grizzlies big star center.

F Connar Tava
F Connar Tava
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Western Michigan Broncos notched a win on their first road test of the year against the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies on Wednesday night. WMU beat OU by a score of 82-71. Oakland scored the first basket, but was never able to retake the lead.

The Broncos controlled the first half, but Oakland kept the game close as the half time score was 35-29, Western. The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with the Broncos expanding their lead to start, but the Golden Grizzlies eventually tying the game at 65 with five minutes left. After that tie, however, the Broncos went on an 8-0 run and the Golden Grizzlies could never quite get back in it.

For the Broncos, Austin Richie and David Brown were not as prolific as they were in the Broncos first game against Aquinas, as Richie scored 10 and Brown scored six. But the big men of the Broncos stepped up for the team offensively.

Forward Connar Tava was the star of the game for Western, leading the team in points (21), rebounds (10), and assists (5). Forward Tucker Haymond was second in scoring for the team with 19 on the night.

Forward Kellen McCormick and guard Thomas Wilder contributed significant offense from the bench as well. McCormick got incredibly hot in the second, giving the Broncos four consecutive three-pointers. McCormick also contributed 27 minutes to the night's effort.

At the end of the first half, Wilder got wild (yup, that's never going to get old) with some great drives to the net. The freshman Wilder is turning out to be really fun to watch, throwing his body around pretty much every time he's on the court.

The Broncos were incredibly successful in suffocating Oakland's star center Corey Petros holding him to only five points, going 2-7 from the field. The Golden Grizzlies' forward Tommie McCune did provide plenty of offense in place of Petros scoring a career best 27, but it wasn't enough for OU.

This was a great first road win of the year for the Broncos, who are now 2-0. The team still had 15 turnovers (after 16 against Aquinas), but it is comforting to know that even when Brown gets shut down by an opposing defense, the Broncos have plenty of other offensive options. As WMU head coach Steve Hawkins said, that shows that this team has both poise and mental toughness.

The Broncos now take on the Drake Bulldogs at 1pm Eastern this Saturday in Kalamazoo.