Cardinals Sneak Past Broncos 65-62
The Broncos recovered from what was at one point a 10-point deficit, but trailed 61-57 with 1:05 remaining after Jauwan Scaife made a three-pointer from the right wing. Connar Tava stole an inbounds pass from Marcus Posley with 44 seconds remaining and slipped it to David Brown, who laid it in off the glass to make it a two-point ballgame.
The Cardinals stretched the lead back to four points with 23 seconds remaining, but Austin Richie countered with an NBA-range three-pointer with 8.5 seconds remaining to make it 63-62. However, with the Broncos now forced to foul, Scaife made a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession; Brown three-pointer attempt was blocked as time expired.
Brown finished tied for the team-high with 13 points; Darius Paul also contributed 13 points, but added 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Nate Hutcheson finished the game with 12 points, just three shy of 1,000 for his career, and Richie finished with nine points off the bench.
The Broncos trailed by four entering halftime, and the Cardinals extended the lead to eight points in the half before the Broncos made their move. Hutcheson knocked down a three-pointer at the 16:15 mark to make it 36-31, and Brown stripped Majok Majok on the next possession and found Richie on the fast break, who fed Paul for a two-handed dunk to make it a three-point game. Ball State led by as many as seven points the rest of the way, but the Broncos tied the score at 54-54 with 4:02 remaining when Brown made a pair of free throws after being fouled by Posley.
Western Michigan's only lead of the night came at the very beginning of the game, when Shayne Whittington converted a fast break feed from Jared Klein and laid it in to make it 2-0. Paul made a free throw at the 17:50 mark to make it 3-2, but the Cardinals took the lead at 17:32 on a Majok lay-up and led the rest of the game. However, the Broncos kept them in arms' length throughout, with the deficit maxing out at 10 points with 4:27 remaining in the half. Brown scored six straight points for the Broncos down the stretch in the first half, making it 26-22 with 2:46 remaining, and Hutcheson made a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left to cut Ball State's lead to 28-24 entering the break.