Men's Hoops Hosts In-State Rival Eagles
Western Michigan Broncos (10-7, 2-2 MAC) vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles (9-9, 2-2 MAC)
Wednesday, January 23 // 7 p.m.
Kalamazoo, Mich. // University Arena
Radio • Bronco Radio Network
Announcers • Robin Hook
Stations • WKZO - 96.5 FM: (Flagship) Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan; WMAX - 96.1 FM: Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon; WVIC - 94.1 FM: Lansing, Jackson, Battle Creek
Broadcast • Pre-game show begins at 6:30 p.m.
• This will be the 102nd meeting between the two teams, with the Broncos leading the series 54-47
• The Broncos are 25-14 against Eastern Michigan in games played in Kalamazoo
• The Broncos are 16-4 against Eastern Michigan under head coach Steve Hawkins, including just one home loss in nine seasons
• The Broncos dropped both meetings to the Eagles last season, including the sole home loss since Steve Hawkins become WMU's coach
• Hawkins is 67-29 (.698) against MAC West opponents since taking the reins of the program
• Nate Hutcheson started his 102nd game for the Broncos on Saturday, tying Mike Seberger for sixth on the career starts list
• Hutcheson needs just 76 points to reach 1,000 points for his career
• The Broncos allowed just 34 points against Northern Illinois on Jan. 19, the lowest single-game total since November 27, 1948, in a win over Olivet (WMU 53, Olivet 33)
•The Broncos' win over Northern Illinois on Jan. 19 represented the largest margin of victory over a D-I opponent since the Broncos defeated Central Michigan 84-39 in the 2004-05 season
• Shayne Whittington recorded his fifth double-double of the year against Toledo, posting 12 points and 13 rebounds
• Whittington's five double-doubles ties the most for a Bronco since Joe Reitz had six during the 2007-08 season
• David Brown is averaging 9.5 points per game off the bench this season, including a career-high 15 points against Toledo and 13 points against Northern Illinois
• Brown is 7-of-11 (.636) from beyond the three-point line in his last two games, in which he averaged 14.0 points per game
BRONCOS VS. THE EAGLES
This will be the 102nd meeting between the two teams, with the Broncos holding a slim lead in the all-time series with a 54-47 edge in the rivalry. The series is one of the oldest in WMU annals, with the teams first meeting during the 1914-15 season, the second-ever year of Bronco basketball. The Eagles controlled the series until the early 2000's, but since then the Broncos have been the team to beat. WMU is 16-4 against the Eagles since Steve Hawkins took the reins of the Broncos program, and the Brown and Gold has been even harder to beat in University Arena in that span; last year's 53-54 loss to EMU was the first time a Hawkins-led team lost at home to Eastern Michigan. The Broncos are 25-14 all-time in game against the Eagles played in Kalamazoo.
HISTORICAL NOTES ABOUT THE NIU WIN
The Broncos' defensive effort against Northern Illinois on Saturday isn't just one of the best in the Steve Hawkins era, it's one of the best in the 99-year history of the program. The Broncos held the Huskies to just 34 points, the lowest score for a Western Michigan opponent since the Broncos held Olivet to 33 points in the 1948-49 season opener; WMU won that game 53-33.
In addition to the impressive points against total in that game, the Broncos also reached another milestone of note. The 37-point margin of victory is the best for the Broncos since defeating Alma 109-50 on Dec. 4, 2010. The margin is also the best for the Broncos against a Division I opponent since an 84-39 beatdown of Central Michigan on Jan. 29, 2005.
Since Steve Hawkins became head coach of the Broncos, they have posted a 67-29 (.698) record against MAC West opponents.
PINE (NOT SO) BARRENS
Over the course of the last seven games, the Broncos' bench has been as good of shape as it has been all season. Western Michigan is averaging 23.1 points per game off the bench over the last seven games.
Since returning to the Broncos' line-up after missing more than a year with a costly knee injury, senior David Brown has provided a needed scoring threat from beyond the three-point arc. Brown is leading the Broncos in scoring in conference play with an average of 9.5 points per game, a number that is inflated to 14.0 points per game in his last two contests...not coincidentally, both Bronco victories. Brown is 7-of-11 (.636) from beyond the three-point arc in the last two games, including a 5-of-7 mark against Toledo one week ago.
Shayne Whittington has been one of the best rebounds in the Mid-American Conference all season, but lately he's on fire, even for his standards. Whittington has grabbed 36 rebounds in his last three games, averaging 12.0 boards per contest. It hasn't stopped at pulling down rebounds, either; Whittington is averaging 3.0 blocks per game in that span as well, including five in the win against Toledo a week ago and three against Northern Illinois on Saturday.