KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Western Michigan Broncos weathered a first-half storm, David Brown tied a University Arena record for three-pointers made in a game, and the Broncos came back from 14 points down to defeat the Ohio Bobcats 82-74 Monday in the first round of the 2015 Mid-American Conference Tournament played in Kalamazoo. The sixth-seeded Broncos improve to 20-12 overall on the season and will face seventh-seeded Akron on Wednesday, March 11 at 9 p.m. ET
Ohio, which lost for the seventh time in its last eight outings, fell to 10-20 (5-13 MAC) on the season.
Maurice Daly Ndour (28) and Stevie Taylor (25) accounted for over two-thirds of the Bobcats' points. Ndour, who hit 9-of-10 from the field (2-of-3 treys), added 11 rebounds to record a double-double.
Brown, meanwhile, was a man on fire in what could be his final home game in a Bronco uniform, scoring a game-high 34 points on 9-of-17 shooting and 8-of-14 from three-point range. The eight made three-pointers ties the University Arena record set by Marshall’s Tamar Slay on Dec. 20, 1999. Thomas Wilder came off the bench for 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and also contributed five assists and four rebounds.
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Ohio took a 46-38 lead with 15:25 to go in the second half and again built an eight-point lead when Mike Laster made a mid-range jumper at the 12:58 mark.
The Western Michigan comeback started in earnest when Connar Tava made a hook shot in the paint to cut deficit to six points, and Brown drilled two straight three-pointers to tie it at 52 with 10:49 remaining.
Brown put the Broncos ahead for the first time in the game with a pair of free throw makes on the next offensive possession. The teams then traded the lead for several minutes until the Broncos wrestled it away for good at the 5:29 mark on a three-pointer by Brown.
He made it a 72-66 advantage with 4:06 to go with yet another three-pointer, and Wilder knocked down a spinning fadeaway jumper from the right side to make it 76-67. Wilder gave WMU its largest lead of the evening with a drive and a lay-up to make it a 12-point edge, and the Broncos dribbled it out for the victory.
With the win, head coach Steve Hawkins became the first coach in WMU history to post three consecutive seasons of 20+ wins. Hawkins was integral to the only other stretch of three straight 20-win seasons in program history, with the first coming as an assistant coach in 2002-03 and the final two coming in the subsequent seasons.
(Courtesy of WMU Athletics/MRO Edit)