McCormick went off for a career-high 31 points including 19 in the second half. His previous career high for points was 14. The stretch four-man from West Bloomfield, Mich., was lights out from behind the arc, knocking down 9 of 11 three-point attempts while going 11-for-14 from the field for the game.
McCormick’s nine three’s set a new University Arena record and matched the WMU single-game record, tying Levi Rost’s nine triples at Buffalo in 2004.
Wilder also had an explosive night, racking up 23 points, five rebounds and four assists. Wilder was 7-for-10 from the floor with two three pointers.
Rochester gave everything it had against the Broncos, who were playing their second game in three days after playing at UNCW on Saturday and traveling home from North Carolina on Sunday.
The Warriors trailed by one at the half, 31-30, and held a one-point lead, 47-46, with 13:50 left in the second half. Rochester entered the game with a 6-0 record and has been one of the top NAIA teams under fifth-year head coach Klint Pleasant. He guided the Warriors to a 25-8 record last year and the school’s first top 25 NAIA ranking.
The game intensified after WMU freshman Josh Davis was knocked hard to the floor coming around a Rochester screen with just under 13 minutes remaining. Tied 48-48, WMU took the lead for good on a three-pointer by junior Tucker Haymond with 12:39 left to play. Shortly after, McCormick really started to heat up, burying four three’s over the next seven minutes. That helped push WMU’s lead to eight. The Broncos’ defense locked down in the final five minutes and allowed just one field goal.
“We were tested and obviously Kellen bailed us out, setting a record for three’s,” said WMU head coach Steve Hawkins. “They have some good guards. They were 6-0 coming in here, and they expected to win. That is a good basketball team. We knew they were going to come after us.
“The guys on the floor won the game for us, it certainly wasn’t our defense. We’ve played four ball games and we’ve only played one real dud. This was it. At the end of the day we found a way to win it.”
Western Michigan’s bench rose to the occasion, outscoring Rochester’s 40-7, largely due to McCormick. The Broncos also did a good job taking care of the ball, only committing 10 turnovers and shot 50.9 percent for the game.
The Brown and Gold made 13 three pointers as a team, which tied for fourth most in school history and was the most for the program since 2012 against Ball State.
With the win, WMU evened its record to 2-2 on the season and improved to 2-0 on its home floor.
The Broncos head back out on the road for their next four games, playing three games in Nashville at the Challenge in the Music City, Nov. 26-29, before traveling to James Madison for a Dec. 3rd contest. WMU returns to Kalamazoo to host Northeastern, Dec. 7, to begin a three-game homestand.
Video highlights: HERE
(Courtesy of WMU Athletics)