KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – Freshman Hayden Hoerdemann had a career high 18 points, and Matt Stainbrook had 16 as the Broncos gained their first MAC win of the season, topping Northern Illinois 77-68 Wednesday night at University Arena. With the win the Broncos improved to 7-9 overall and 1-1 in MAC play.
Northern Illinois challenged the Broncos physically all game, and didn’t look like a team that entered Wednesday with only 1 win.
“At the beginning of the season they really struggled, but since then this is how all their games have looked like,” Coach Steve Hawkins of Northern. “They played harder than us defensively and they did a great job on the glass and they were physical.”
And it was the Huskies job rebounding that kept them in the game as they outrebounded the Broncos 33-27. Western entered the game as the top rebounding team in the MAC.
During the first half the Huskies never trailed by more than 5 and even held a 3 point lead early in the half. But it was the play from Hoerdemann that kept the Huskies at bay, as he had 11 points in the first 20 minutes, going 4-5 from the field and 3-4 from behind the arc.
“When I first got into the game and the first one went in, I started feeling really good,” Hoerdemann said of his performance. “It feels great to be able to be out there and helping the team out, especially in conference play.”
Western took a 34-30 lead into the half after Matt Stainbrook drilled a long 2 pointer as time expired.
The 2nd half was all about Stainbrook. For the majority of the 1st half Stainbrook was doubled team but only had 1 turnover and was key in helping the Broncos get an assist on 20 of their 24 made baskets.
“I can’t remember one of our teams having that type of field goal to assist ratios in a really, really long time,” Hawkins said. “Stainbrook would have a lot of assists if this were hockey. He had a lot of passes that led to other assists. I thought he played phenomenal tonight.”
The Broncos outscored Northern 43-38 in the 2nd half and held an 11 point advantage with 9:51 remaining in the game.
GAME NOTES: Flenard Whitfield returned to the starting lineup for the first time in over a month. He finished with 4 points and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes of action…Nate Hutchenson had 17 points…Demetrius Ward was the only other Bronco to finish in double figures, as he had 11…Tim Toler scored 15 for the Huskies, all coming from behind the 3 point line…The Broncos shot 95% from the free throw line (20-21)...Mike Douglas moved into 3rd place all time on the Broncos career assist leaders, as he finished with 8 helpers, passing Todd Dietrich…The victory over Northern Illinois gave Coach Steve Hawkins 152 wins as Bronco. He is now tied for 2nd all-time with Bob Donewald…The Broncos next game is Saturday against Toledo. Game time is set for 2pm at University Arena.