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Western Michigan Broncos vs. Toledo Rockets Final: Connar Tava led the Broncos to a huge win over the Rockets

In the rematch of last years MAC Championship, the Broncos outlasted the Rockets in OT.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The last time these two teams played on the hardwood, the Broncos won in the MAC Championship last March. David Brown's 32 points, three rebounds and three assists carried the Broncos into their fourth March Madness bid.

Now, if the revenge factor wasn't enough, Senior Guard Justin Drummond had a few words to say about the Broncos. "This year we're looking forward to taking that back and winning the MAC championship," Drummond said. "I don't know if  (Western Michigan) is going to be there or not. I doubt it, but if they are, we just gotta go through them."

Now those are some fighting words.

During the beginning of the game it was the Brown vs. Brown show, answering each other on offense with long balls and skillful layups. Julius Brown had seven points when he went for a rest with 12:54 on the clock while David Brown had eight.

With Juice Brown on the bench for the Rockets they struggled, scoring at the 11:35 mark on the clock with the score in favor of the Broncos 22-17.Western Michigan locked down Toledo in the first half; the Broncos didn't let the Rockets score for a long six-minute stretch until a huge two-handed dunk by J.D. Weatherspoon to stop the drought.

Before the halftime whistle Juice Brown connected with Weatherspoon on not just one, but two huge lobs to spark Savage Arena and cut the Broncos lead to three at 38-35. The mixture of David Brown and Connar Tava lead the march for the Broncos in the first half. The Rockets were lead by Weatherspoon's 13 and Juice Brown's 12.

Western Michigan started a small run with a David Brown layup and one at the tin, a Taylor Perry fading three, and then David Brown again. This time it was of the wrap-around layup kind to give the Broncos their largest lead of the game at 54-47.

During the middle of the second half Juice Brown lead the charge back from a seven point hole. With a bundle of long bombs he cut the Western Michigan lead to just one. With 3:38 to go the under four media timeout stopped another short Broncos push. A long three by Austin Richie and a wide-open layup by Haymond off of a steal pushed the Broncos lead to six.

After a Western Michigan miss, Juice Brown went hero-ball and drained a long three. It was suddenly a two-point game and the during the next possession the Broncos coughed up the ball which led to Jonathan Williams finishing at the rim to tie the game up with 46 seconds left.

Western Michigan called a timeout to draw up a play. Connar Tava got fouled at the hoop on the ensuing possession and made both free throws. Juice Brown missed a three pointer on the next possession. Both teams fought for the rebounds, and eventually a jump ball was called with the Broncos owning the possession arrow.

Tava then inbounded the ball by throwing it down to the left corner of the Broncos side of the floor for a reason that confused everyone in the gym. Toledo then got the ball under their own hoop with seven seconds left.

Juice Brown redeemed himself and hit a baseline jumper to tie the game:

In overtime, a Jordan Lauf three gaves the Rockets their first lead since the 14:51 mark of the first half. Connor Tava then slipped past Zach Garber and finished at the basket for a hard earned three-point play. That gave the Broncos their first lead in overtime.

With 27 seconds to play, Mario Matasovic hit a layup to give the Broncos a three point lead.  After 25 seconds of dribbling the ball Juice Brown threw up a prayer for the win and it fell short, giving us the final 81-79 scoreline.

"We didn't communicate enough on the defensive side of the ball," Toledo head coach Tod Kowalczyk said after the game. "Still a lot of basketball to be played."

Getting a huge win tonight, the Broncos look to carry their momentum as they play at Miami on Wednesday. For Toledo, they will have to regroup as they travel to Kent State.

Game Leaders

Player Toledo Western Michigan
Points Julius Brown (31) Connar Tava (25)
Rebounds J.D. Weatherspoon (10) Connar Tava (11)
Assists Julius Brown (5) Tucker Haymond (6)
Blocks Julius Brown (1) Connar Tava (2)
Steals Jordan Lauf (3) 3 tied (2)