On Wednesday night the Western Michigan Broncos beat the Kent State Golden Flashes by the slimmest of margins in Kalamazoo, 67-66. And these teams were not at 100% - but not because of lack of form or concentration, but because of some nasty winter sickness.
Kent State's leading scorer Jimmy Hall was under-the-weather and had to sit this game out while Western's Connar Tava has been sick for several days and Tucker Haymond began vomiting just before tip-off. According to MLive's David Drew, even Western coach Steve Hawkins looked sick. Added to that, WMU guard Austin Richie was still sidelined with a nagging and undisclosed injury (he hasn't played since January 21 against Miami).
Pre-game vomiting sessions didn't seem to bother Tucker Haymond too much though, as the sophomore forward toughed it out and led the Broncos in scoring on the night with 17 points, going an astounding 8 for 11 from the field. Kent State was led by guard Derek Jackson, who put down 20 points, including five three pointers. KSU's guard Devareaux Manley was also impressive, hitting six threes and accumulating 18 points on the night.
Kent State led 28-27 at the half, but expanded that lead through the second, leading 55-47 with under nine minutes left in the game. A Manley three-pointer put the Golden Flashes up 66-62 with 1:23 remaining, but David Brown countered on the next possession, hitting a three of his own.
With ten seconds remaining, WMU's Tava then put the Broncos up 67-66 with a drive and lay-up. With the last possession, Kent State's Manley couldn't quite convert on a last-second shot attempt, and the Broncos came away with the win.
This is the first win the last four games for Western, who really needed a victory to stay in the MAC West race. The Broncos are 5-4 in the MAC, tied with Central, and trailing Toledo by one game. For Kent State, this is the second loss in a row, putting the Golden Flashes at 6-3 in conference play along with Buffalo, Bowling Green, and Akron in the east.
|Player||Western Michigan||Kent State|
|Points||T. Haymond (17)||D. Jackson (20)|
|Rebounds||T. Wilder (8)||C. Ortiz (8)|
|Assists||T. Wilder (5)||Three tied (3)|
|Blocks||D. LaMont (1)||G. Akbar & K. Spicer (1)|
|Steals||Three tied (2)||D. Jackson (2)|