TOLEDO, Ohio – Connar Tava recorded his second double-double of the season with 25 points and 11 rebounds, David Brown added 20 points, and the Western Michigan men’s basketball team won its second straight overtime game with an 81-78 victory over the Toledo Rockets at Savage Arena on Saturday. With the win, the Broncos improve to 12-5 overall on the season, 3-1 in Mid-American Conference play.
The Broncos led for much of the game but had to hold off a late rally by the Rockets, who forced OT with a last-second shot in the second half and then scored the first bucket of overtime. The Broncos closed the extra session on a 9-3 run, with sophomore forward Mario Matasovic scoring the final four points of overtime and Tava pulling down a key defensive rebound to lock up the Bronco win.
Tava had a team-high 25 points and recorded the game-high with 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season while also recording four assists and a blocked shot. Brown added 20 points and seven rebounds, and Tucker Haymond had 11 points, six assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Matasovic came off the bench for a career-high 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting and also recorded five rebounds.
Julius Brown led Toledo with a game-high 31 points. Joining him in double figures were J.D. Weatherspoon (17) and Justin Drummond (12).
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Tava scored on a dunk, and Lauf hit one of two FT for a 76-74 Toledo advantage
Tava gave the Broncos a lead with an old-fashioned three-point play at the 3:00 mark of overtime, ducking under Zach Garber and making an off-balance shot through contact.
J.D. Weatherspoon tied it at 77 with a free throw, and Lauf took the lead back for the Rockets with another free toss from the line.
The Broncos quickly responded when Austin Richie bounced a pass in the lane for Matasovic for a two-fisted dunk. Matasovic scored on the next possession as well, with Tava finding him wide open for another bucket to make it 81-78.
Julius Brown came down and fired a three-pointer with the clock winding down, but the shot caromed off the rim and was hauled in by Tava to secure the victory.
The contest began with the Broncos taking early control as Haymond put his team ahead 15-13 on a three-point shot from the head of the key at the 14:32 mark of the half. Haymond fired again from the same spot to make it 20-13 and give the Broncos their largest lead of the first half.
The Rockets cut the advantage to just one point after Stuckey Mosley made two free throws, but Tava and Brown recorded lay-ups on consecutive possessions to bump the lead back to six points. Tava took a backdoor pass from Haymond at the 8:00 mark to make it 29-22. The Broncos led 38-31 with 2:15 to go in the half, but the Rockets scored four unanswered points down the stretch to make it a one-possession game at half.
WMU kept the pressure on in the second half, keeping the Rockets and arms’ length and eventually built a 59-51 lead on a hook shot by Matasovic.
Toledo made it 62-61 after a free throw by Justin Drummond, but Richie came through a screen and drilled a three-pointer at the 4:05 mark to make it a two-possession lead. The Broncos took the lead 70-68 with 17 seconds remaining and got a stop on defense, but they turned the ball over against the Toledo press. Julius Brown made a 15-footer from the left wing to send the game to overtime.
(Courtesy of WMU Athletics/MRO Edit)