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Broncos Storm Past Golden Flashes for Victory

Courtesy: Sean Fagan, Assistant Director of Media Relations
Release: 02/06/2013
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan men's basketball team rallied from what was once a 10-point deficit, storming back in the second half to defeat the Kent State Golden Flashes 82-76 at University Arena. The win is the seventh in a row for the Broncos, who improve to 15-7 overall, 7-2 in Mid-American Conference play. The win is the first against the Golden Flashes since Feb. 11, 2007, snapping a seven-game losing streak to Kent State.

The win also marks the Broncos' first seven-game win streak since the 2004-05 season, when the Broncos won seven straight from Dec. 22, 2004 - Jan. 19, 2005. It is the longest MAC win streak for the Broncos since winning eight straight conference games over two seasons, winning the final two MAC games of the 2003-04 season and the first six of the 2004-05 season, and is the longest to take place entirely in a single season since the 1975-76 Broncos won 10 straight MAC games.

Shayne Whittington finished with a double-double for the second straight game and seventh time this season, notching 21 points and 13 rebounds. That ranks as the most for a Bronco in a single season since Joe Reitz recorded 10 double-doubles in the 2006-07 season. David Brown came off the bench for a game- and career-high 22 points, including a 3-of-3 performance from three-point range. Nate Hutcheson posted 15 points for the Broncos on 7-of-10 shooting.

As a team, the Broncos shot 24-of-47 (.511) from the field in the game, and posted a 7-of-15 (.467) mark from beyond the arc. The Broncos out-rebounded the Golden Flashes 35-27 and out-scored them 28-16.

WMU trailed by six points to start the second half, but Darius Paul drilled a three-pointer from the left wing to cut the Golden Flashes' lead to three points. Kent State opened the lead up to eight points with a three-point make by Kris Brewer at the 18:13 mark, but Whittington cut the lead with a hook shot to make it 43-37.

Hutcheson made it a one-possession ball game at the 15:18 mark when Austin Richie lifted a long alley-oop pass in transition; Hutcheson tipped the ball into the hoop to make it 46-44 with 15:18 remaining. Brown gave the Broncos their first lead of the game a minute and a half later, drilling a three-pointer from the right wing at the 13:45 mark and drawing a foul in the process. Brown made the free throw to give the Broncos a 50-49 lead.

The Golden Flashes re-took the lead, though, and held a 68-60 edge with 7:35 remaining. The Broncos embarked on a 13-4 run to re-take the lead, though, with Hutcheson knocking down a three-pointer from just beyond the head of the key to make it 73-72 with 3:03 remaining. Hutcheson broke a tie at the 2:31 mark with a floater, and Brown gave the Broncos the lead for good with a pair of free throw makes at the 1:41 mark to make it 77-76. The Broncos went 5-of-6 at the line down the stretch to seal the win.

The Broncos had trouble establishing a rhythm in the first half, falling behind early to the Golden Flashes and finding themselves unable to take the lead from their MAC East rival. The Golden Flashes opened the game on a 12-4 run, taking an eight-point advantage when Melvin Tabb made one of two free throws at the 13:46 mark.

Whittington helped the Broncos begin to chip away at the lead, taking an inlet feed from Austin Richie at the 12:38 mark and laying it off the glass to make it a two-possession ball game. Brown cut the lead to just three points on the next trip down the court, firing an NBA-range three-pointer off a feed from Richie to make it 12-9. The closest the Broncos would get was at the 10:49 mark, when Nate Hutcheson drove to his right and hit a floater to make it 15-13.

The Golden Flashes began to pull away later in the half, stretching the lead to seven points on a three-pointer from Darren Goodson, and reaching nine points on a pair of free throw makes from Kellon Thomas. Evans made it a double-digit lead at the 5:18 mark with a tip-in dunk, but the Broncos embarked on a 9-1 run to pull tight. Hutcheson made a lay-up at the 3:48 mark to make it 28-23, and Darius Paul knocked down a 15-foot jump shot from the right wing with 3:18 left to make it a four-point game.

Taylor Perry cut the lead as short as it would be for the rest of the half, making a pair of free throws with 2:08 remaining to make it 29-27. The Broncos got one final surge at the end of the half when Whittington chased down a loose ball and saved it from going out of bounds; he flipped it back to Pokley, who drilled a three-pointer from the left wing with less than 30 seconds remaining to set the final deficit for the half at 38-32.