"We needed this win," said WMU head coach Steve Hawkins. "The guys have been working their tails off and we hadn't been getting the results. We were coming off a week where we had lost a game in overtime and lost a one-point game, so this one feels pretty good."
Western Michigan enjoyed one of its best shooting performances of the season. The Broncos . . .
The sophomore center established himself down low early and finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, both of which were team highs. He shot 8-for-11 from the field.
Freshman Seth Dugan was a presence in the paint as well, scoring 10 first half points and 14 in the game. He also grabbed six rebounds.
Western Michigan shot a blazing 65.4 percent in the first half, going 17-for-26 with only two three-point attempts. Sophomore point guard Thomas Wilder made a layup at the halftime buzzer to give WMU a 41-30 advantage.
Western Michigan's lead hovered around double digits until the final six minutes of the game, when the Broncos had to hold off a late push by the Falcons.
With 2:21 remaining and WMU clinging to a 68-65 lead, Bronco senior forward Anthony Avery Jr. was whistled for a personal foul and then a technical, resulting in his fourth and fifth fouls of the game. The call also gave Bowling Green four free throws and the ball, but the Falcons only converted two of the attempts from the line. BG had another chance to pull even with 35 seconds left, only to have Ismail Ali misfire on another pair of free throws. Bronco junior forward Tucker Haymond proceeded to hit two clutch free throws to extend WMU's lead to four.
Western Michigan was 6-for-9 from the free throw line in the final two minutes of the game while Bowling Green was 3-for-8. Free throws cost Bowling Green throughout the day, as the Falcons were just 15-for-32 overall. Western Michigan did a good job making the most of its trips, going 17-for-22 (77.3%). The Broncos also outscored Bowling Green, 40-32, in the paint and had six more rebounds (36 to 30).
In all, WMU had four players score in double figures. Joining LaMont and Dugan was Haymond and Wilder. Haymond totaled 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal. Wilder had 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Broncos finished the game shooting 50.9 percent. Bowling Green shot 46.0 percent.
"It started down low today," Hawkins said. "We felt like we had been too perimeter-oriented with Thomas and Tucker taking three's. Today we wanted to get some more paint touches and saw some things there in the scouting report. Drake and Seth really came through nicely for us.
"We have to take this win and build on it. We will go back and watch the film and look at the good parts and realize that's why we won. Then we'll look at the bad part of things and say, 'Well, here we could have won by 15.' You just have to keep teaching and keep looking to improve."
Western Michigan upped its record to 10-15 overall and 4-8 in the Mid-American Conference. BGSU slipped to 13-12 and 4-8 in the MAC.
Senior forward Spencer Parker led Bowling Green with 16 points and five rebounds. Wes Alcegaire had 15 points and Demajeo Wiggins tallied 13 points and eight rebounds.
Western Michigan at Ohio (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET)
Bowling Green at Northern Illinois (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET)