KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – If you would have asked me 2 months ago who would have scored more points against WMU, either the Toledo football team or basketball team, I would have bet my life savings on the basketball team. If someone would have taken me up on that bet I’d be broke right now as the Western Michigan basketball team held the Rockets basketball team to a season low 52 points as the Broncos came away with their largest victory of the season 74-52. (Side note, the final score of the WMU/Toledo football game was 66-63 Toledo.)
“That’s the best we’ve played around here in a quite some time,” Coach Steve Hawkins said. “I thought offensively we picked up where we left off the other night. We were really unselfish.”
“This is a very good offensive team in Toledo.”
Toledo came in averaging 75.4 points per game and was leading the MAC in field goal percentage at 46%, but the Broncos held the Rockets to only 35% on Saturday.
Flendard Whitfield had his best game since injuring his ankle a month ago as he finished with 19 points in only 22 minutes of action. Whitfield and Matt Stainbrook were key in helping the Broncos outrebound the Rockets 48-24. Mike Douglas also pitched in with 10 boards.
“We took advantage of the size, we just had a better size differential,” Whitfield said. “We used our physical ability to tip some balls out that, which we do on a regular basis. Our guards are a big part of that rebounding core too. You have to be willing to get your noise dirty. Shaq could be out there but you still have to be able to rebound.”
After trailing early in the game the Broncos used a 16-2 run to put themselves up double figures and remained up by more than 10 for the majority of the game. Western took a 33-21 lead into halftime and extended that lead to as much as 29 with 4:54 left in the game. WMU outscored Toledo 41-31 in the 2nd half.
Stainbrook finished with a double double, 13 points and 11 rebounds.
GAME NOTES: With the win WMU improves to 8-9 and 2-1 in the MAC. Toledo falls to 8-9 and 0-3 in the MAC...The Broncos had 18 assists and held the Rockets to only 5 assists…Whitfield also led the team in blocks with 3…Austin Richie had 10 points and Hayden Hoerdemann had 9…Demetrius Ward struggled from the field going 1-8, but did lead the team in assists with 8…Julius Brown and Rian Pearson were the only Rockets to score in double figures with 17 and 15, respectively…The Broncos return to action on Wednesday as they travel to Ypsilanti to take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles.