Western Michigan drops to 5-7 after getting rocked by the Vanderbilt Commodores. At times this game was close, but a series of transition dunks really kept the Broncos down in an 86-61 loss.
Four minutes into the contest, Western Michigan was down after a pair of uncontested three pointers from Matthew Fisher-Davis. These wide-open shots from behind the arc forced coach Hawkins to call a quick timeout.
From that point until about five minutes left in the first half, everything was going Vanderbilt's way. The Commodores created many open shots from behind the arc, and occasionally passed it down low to their big man Damian Jones, who attacked the rim with ease.
On a separate note, Damian Jones reached the 1,000 career point mark. He is the 44th player in Vanderbilt history to reach 1,000 career points.
Western Michigan's offense in the first half was methodical. Coach Hawkins team milked the clock because the stifling Commodores defense was not leaving any open holes for Western Michigan to attack.
Around the five minute mark in the first-half, Western Michigan started to creep back into the ballgame. Behind a heavy dose of penetration from Tucker Haymond and Thomas Wilder, Western Michigan was slicing Vanderbilt's lead. They went into the halftime break only down nine points.
Coming into the second-half, Western Michigan was hanging around with Vanderbilt. Again penetration from the Broncos got them to the free throw line where they converted. Early in the second-half Western Michigan was only down 7 points.
The Broncos continued to keep Vanderbilt close until about half way through the second half, when this happened.
Shortly after, another transition dunk silenced the Broncos sideline.
This sequence of dunks forced Steve Hawkins to use another timeout. It did not help much because Vanderbilt had found their game, and they just stiff-armed Western Michigan for the last nine minutes. Vanderbilt continued to find open three pointers and feed their beast in the paint, Damian Jones.
Thomas Wilder lead the way for the Broncos scoring 21 points and dishing 3 assists. Wilder got support from Tucker Haymond who finished with 18 points and 5 assists.
Overall, Western Michigan shot a low 37% from the field and an abysmal 11% from behind the arc. As a team they only had 8 assists and did not create many turnovers.
Western Michigan must look at improving their shooting percentage by working on creating more open shots. Too many times the Broncos ended possessions taking difficult shots.
Wade Baldwin IV dropped a team-high 15, but Vanderbilt had a nice array of scorers on Wednesday night. 10 out of 13 players that saw action in this game scored at least one point. 5 out of 13 players scored in double-figures and two Commodores finished with a double-double.
Next up for the Broncos, Jacksonville pays a visit to Kalamazoo as Western Michigan looks to finish non-conference play on a high note.