Offensive Flurry Pushes Broncos Past Rockets
Playing with something of a chip on their shoulder after losing three straight, the Broncos got off to a quick start and maintained it, building a 15-point lead and halftime and continuing to add on to it over the course of the second half. WMU shot 49.2 percent from the field, including a sizzling 55.9 percent in the second half alone. The Broncos out-rebounded the Rockets 44-26, including 16 offensive rebounds, and displayed their passing ability by posting 15 assists as a team.
David Brown came off the bench to light the Broncos' fire on Wednesday, scoring a career-high 15 points with a 5-of-7 night from beyond the three-point arc. Shayne Whittington recorded his fifth double-double of the season, posting 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Darius Paul rebounded from two low-scoring efforts to post 15 points.
The Broncos opened up their lead in the second half, attacking the hoop and putting the Rockets back on their heels for much of the period. Paul converted a three-point play with a made jumper and a free throw at the 15:48 mark, and Nate Hutcheson converted a three-point play of his own at the 14:29 mark of the second half, nailing an off-balance lay-up and making the ensuing free throw to give the Broncos a 45-30 lead.
The lead reached 20 points for the first time at the 7:06 mark of the second half, when Austin Richie caught an alley-oop lay-up attempt and flipped it in to give the Broncos a 64-43 edge. Paul held that 21-point lead with an off-balance hook shot at the 5:51 mark to make it 66-45, and threw down a putback dunk at the 5:22 mark to make it a 23-point lead. Nick Stapert gave the Broncos their biggest lead of the night with 33 seconds remaining, making a hook shot in the paint to make it 79-53.
WMU opened the game on an 11-4 run, with Jared Klein making a 15-foot jumper from the right wing to open the scoring for the Broncos. The lead swelled to 6-2 when Brandon Pokley scored on a lay-up at the 15:11 mark, and it eventually became an 11-4 advantage when Brown drilled a three-pointer from the right wing at the 14:13 mark. Brown continued the aerial assault, giving the Broncos their first double-digit lead of the night with three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to make it 19-7 at the 10:05 mark of the half.
Hutcheson gave the Broncos their biggest lead of the half at the 7:23 mark, scoring on a lay-up to make it 26-9, and Austin Richie quelled a Rocket rally with a three-pointer to make it 30-17 with 4:59 remaining in the period. Pokley went on to score the final four points of the half for the Broncos, who entered the halftime break with a 34-19 edge over Toledo.