KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – After opening the season with 6 straight losses, the Western Michigan men’s basketball has now won back to back games and 3 of their last 4 as they defeated the Duquesne Dukes 85-71 Saturday afternoon.
“We’re really proud of the guys, heck of an effort,” Coach Steve Hawkins said after the game. “They played their tails off and took care of the basketball and got a much needed win against a really good team.”
Nate Hutchenson and Brandon Pokely each recorded career high in points with 24 and 16 respectively.
With Flenard Whitfield still out with an ankle injury Hutchenson once again started and took advantage of the opportunity connected on 7 of 9 shots and made all 8 free throw attempts. He also had 6 rebounds.
Pokely saw extended action after David Brown went down with a knee injury in the first half. Brown didn’t return to the game and will have an MRI done on his knee either Sunday or Monday.
“My teammates did a great job of finding me when I was open,” Pokley said. “When you see a teammate go down, you don’t have time to get to think whoa I hope he’s not that hurt because you’re in the middle of the game and I’ve got to get my thoughts together and know that my teams going to count on me.”
Duquesne started the game up 6-0, and once again it looked a slow start could doom the Broncos. But a 21-5 run put Western up by 10 and from there on it was complete domination from Coach Hawkins team as they showed the energy and effort that made them the preseason favorites to win the MAC West.
“Everyone bought in and did a great job and played Bronco Basketball,” added Hawkins. “We played hard and shared the basketball. We’re showing determination and some grit. We’re not afraid to get floor burns. It also helps playing at home.”
At the half Western led by 15, 44-29 and during the second half they increased the lead to as much as 20.
Demetrius Ward added 15 for the Broncos and Mike Douglas had 13 as the Broncos improve to 3-7 on the young season.
GAME NOTES: Western outshot the Dukes 54% to 44.6%...The Broncos also outrebounded Duquesne 37 to 23 with Douglas leading the way with 7…Matt Stainbrook saw no action in the 2nd half as Shayne Whittington and Muhammed Conteh saw the majority of the time up front…Duquesne was only 6-24 from 3 point land…Mike Talley lead the Dukes in scoring with 16…Western improves to 3-0 at home with the win…The Broncos return to action on Tuesday against Winthrop. Game starts at 7pm at University Arena.