CLEVELAND -- Mid-American Conference Player of the Year David Kool scored 26 points, 24 in the second half, to lead No. 7 Western Michigan past No. 2 Central Michigan, 69-60, in the quarterfinals of the FirstEnergy MAC Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Kool hit 7-of-15 field goals and 12-of-14 free throws, while adding four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Sophomore Flenard Whitfield tied his career high with 12 rebounds and added 12 points for his fourth career double-double. Freshman David Brown scored 11 points, the most in his career against a Division I opponent, and senior Donald Lawson added 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Central Michigan (15-15) led the whole game, including by 14 with 13:42 to go in the second half before WMU cut the lead to two. CMU re-established its lead back to five, 54-49, with 6:26 to play, but WMU (18-14) came back as Kool dished to Mike Douglas for a three-pointer in the corner to cut the lead to two. The Broncos got consecutive stops and Kool hit two free throws to tie and then a fadeaway in the paint to give WMU its first lead, 56-54, with 4:42 to go.
The Broncos added to their lead as Kool scored on another lay-up on a baseline inbounds play and Whitfield hit two free throws with 3:23 to go to put WMU up six, 60-54. Central Michigan closed within three, 61-58, but Kool hit three free throws in a row to put WMU back up six, 64-58, with 1:09 to go and CMU never threatened again.
The Chippewas started the game with hot outside shooting to take an early six-point lead, 11-5, with 14:43 to go in the game, but then WMU came back. Freshman David Brown converted a three-point play and then hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to pull WMU within one, 15-13, with 10:32 to go.
The Chippewas hit a bucket to go back up four, but then Kool found Whitfield on the fast break for a lay-up and then Mike Douglas lobbed a ball to the rim that Whitfield converted to tie the game, 17-17, with 7:17 remaining.
Central Michigan came back and hit three consecutive triples to start a 14-5 run to end the half with a nine-point lead, 31-22.
The Chippewas hit 5-of-12 three-pointers in the opening half on the way to 44.0 percent shooting (11-25), while the Broncos made 1-of-6 three-pointers and 7-of-23 shots overall (.304). The Broncos also turned the ball over nine times that led to 10 CMU points. The Broncos had a 19-12 rebounding edge, including 9-5 in offensive rebounds, but CMU had one more second chance point, 6-5.
Central Michigan opened the second half with a three-pointer to take its largest lead, 34-22, but then back-to-back dunks by Donald Lawson and a fast break lay-up by Brown brought WMU within eight, 37-29, with 17:28 to play. After two free throws, Kool hit his first field goal of the game with 16:30 to go to keep the margin at eight, 39-31.
The Chippewas responded with an 8-2 run to take a 14-point lead, 47-33, with 13:42 to play. Kool drove the lane and converted a lay-up to start a 13-1 run that pulled the Broncos within a pair, 48-46, with 10:22 to go after Kool's second three-point play of the rally.
The Broncos held CMU to 30.0 percent (9-30) shooting in the second half and 36.4 percent for the game (20-55), including 7-of-22 three-pointers (.318). The Broncos shot 56.5 percent in the second half (13-23) and finished the game shooting 43.5 percent (20-46) and made 26-of-36 free throws (.722).
The Broncos had the advantage in the interior by out-rebounding the Chippewas, 40-29, and out-scoring them in the paint, 34-14.
WMU advances to the semifinals at 7 p.m. on Friday against No. 3 Akron or No. 6 Eastern Michigan. The game will be televised on FS Ohio's alternate channel, ESPN Full Court and ESPN360.com. The game will be available on FS Detroit on tape delay later Friday night.