Bronco Defense Stifles Stella Azzurra in Win
The Broncos forced 22 turnovers, including recording an impressive 12 steals, and didn't allow Stella Azzurra much room on the possessions in which they did put up a shot; Stella Azzurra shot just 17 of 52 from the field, including just six of 18 from three-point range. Conversely, the Broncos shot 26 of 55 (.473) from the field and saw six players reach double-digits in scoring. Like their game against Basket Fondi three days earlier, the Broncos controlled the glass against Stella Azzurra, notching a 42-27 rebounding advantage.
Sophomore Austin Richie led the Broncos with 13 points on 4 of 5 shooting and a 5 of 5 shooting performance from the free throw line. Nate Hutcheson reached 11 points for the game, and four players - Connar Tava, Shayne Whittington, Darius Paul, and Taylor Perry - each scored 10 points.
Stella Azzurra led 17-16 after the first quarter, but the Broncos would quickly take the lead for good. With the Broncos trailing by two points early in the second period, Richie knocked down a jumper to tie the score at 20-20; just a few seconds later, Tava made one of two free throws to give the Broncos a lead they would hold for the remainder of the game. Richie would record a steal and take it the length of the court for a fast break lay-up at the 6:39 mark of the second quarter, and Nate Hutcheson maintained the slim lead with a baseline dunk at the 5:59 mark.
Paul would stretch the lead to five points with a steal and a fast break lay-up at the 4:44 mark, and Brandon Pokley would give the Broncos their largest lead of the half when he made a pair of free throws to make it 36-26 with 2:10 remaining in the second quarter, the culmination of an 11-3 run. Stella Azzurra would cut the lead to five points, but Jared Klein hit a pair of free throws before the half to give WMU a 38-31 lead at the break.
The Broncos dominated the beginning of the third quarter, when Whittington scored the first five points of the half to give the Broncos a 43-31 lead in just a minute of play. The lead swelled to 13 points when Hayden Hoerdemann dove to the ground for a loose ball and tossed it to Paul, who laid the ball in at the 5:33 mark.
Stella Azzurra would cut the lead to ten points at the end of the third quarter, but the Broncos would soon push the lead to new heights; Tava and Hutcheson recorded a pair of free throw makes on consecutive possessions to make it 69-53, and the Broncos would reach a 20-point lead when Richie made a pair at the 4:23 mark.
Perry hit a three-pointer at the 2:52 mark to maintain the 20-point lead, making it 78-58, and the Broncos would cruise down the stretch for the victory.