In a battle between the Western Michigan Broncos and the Miami RedHawks -the two worst teams of the conference - there had to be one winner. On Tuesday night, both teams seemed to struggle with that concept, with a inept offenses giving way to some bad basketball.
The first half was especially tough. The two teams combined to shoot 30% from the floor in the half en route to a 24-18 score with the Redhawks ahead despite having more turnovers than made field goals. Still, they managed to keep the Broncos cold, holding the hosts to just three points over an 11 minute span before Kellen McCormick hit a three to snap an 0-for-10 opening from beyond the arch.
Both teams came out cold to start the 2nd half, with the Broncos providing the only scoring in the first five minutes, with just four points to show for it to make it a 24-22 game. However, the offenses seemed to wake up, scoring 16 points - 8 apiece - over the next three minutes to breathe life into the game heading into the media timeout.
But that too would die, with the teams going ice cold from the floor. The two teams would combine for one free throw over a three-and-a-half minute span before Tucker Haymond hit a floater to pull the Broncos back to within 1. There would be a couple more free throws before Geovonie McKnight would hit a fadeaway two-and-a-half minutes later. Another two minutes passed before McKnight would hit another jumper, with neither team hitting shots between then.
With the RedHawks on a 9-2 run, WMU coach Steve Hawkins called timeout, trying to spark an offense that trailed 42-35 with 3:34 to go. Thomas Wilder would come out and hit a three, then would draw an illegal screen call to give his team the ball back. Seth Dugan would hit a post shot, and after a miss, the sophomore point guard would hit a pair of free throws to tie the game up at 42-42 with under two minutes to play.
Eric Washington, leader of the RedHawks all night, took over, determined to not let his team lose a tough game. After both teams couldn't score, he drove the lane and hit a high lay-up off the top of the backboard to give his team a 44-42 lead. It would be short-lived, with Wilder drawing a foul and hitting both shots. But Washington bled the clock for one last chance, hitting Rod Mills with a dump-off. The sophomore forward would draw a foul as the shot clock expired and hit his first free throw to give Miami a one point lead, his only point of the game.
After missing his second shot, Wilder took the rebound and dribbled down the length of the court but could not put up a shot as the buzzer sounded to signal a 45-44 win for Miami.
To go along with Washington, Geovonie McKnight finished with 15 points, with 7 of those points coming from the line. He also grabbed 6 rebounds while playing with foul trouble down the stretch. Washington finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds, shooting 4-for-7 from the field (considerably better than the rest of the team). The RedHawks as a whole shot just 33% from the floor, and had more turnovers (15) than made baskets (11), with a good chunk of their points coming from the line (21-for-28).
For the Broncos, Wilder finished with 13 points. He was the only player to finish in double digits, but he shot 3-for-11 from the floor, including 3-for-9 from beyond the arch. Anthony Avery Jr and Tucker Haymond added 9 and 8 points respectively, but a poor shooting night (31% from the floor, 21% from 3-point range) doomed WMU from the start.
|Points||T. Wilder (13)||G. McKnight (15)|
|Rebounds||S. Dugan (8)||G. McKnight (6)|
|Assists||T. Haymond (4)||G. McKnight (2)|
|Blocks||T. Haymond (1)||None|
|Steals||Three tied (2)||Two tied (2)|