Western Michigan started off the game with the hot hand, connecting on 8 of its first 11 shots, including 3-for-4 from three-point range. The impressive shooting allowed the Broncos to open a 17-9 lead.
Cleveland State (3-5) started to . . .
"Tonight we started out fine, but this group is not at a point yet where we give consistent effort," WMU head coach Steve Hawkins said. "On the defensive end of the floor, this team does not resemble a Western Michigan basketball team. Until we get them to understand the consistent level of effort that takes, we aren't going to be able to win on the road."
With around 12 minutes to play, Hawkins pulled his starters and let the younger players finish out the game. For a large portion late in the second half WMU had two sophomores and three freshmen on the floor.
"We were getting beat pretty well, so we put in a group that would give more effort," Hawkins said in reference to the players that finished the game. "I thought that group played extremely hard.
"We are just simply too casual on the basketball court right now for a Bronco basketball team. That's not our trademark and that's not who we are. The upperclassmen need to start leading the way."
Junior point guard Thomas Wilder was the only Bronco to score in double figures with 12 points. Eight of those came in the first half. Lone senior Tucker Haymond had just two points and junior Drake LaMont finished with three. The trio entered the game averaging over 40 points combined.
CSU's Bobby Word hit five three's and was the game's leading scorer with 25 points. Demonte Flannigan recorded 20.
Cleveland State scored 25 points off of 16 Bronco turnovers. The Vikings also out-rebounded WMU 32-25.
"We've got to do a better job all the way around," Hawkins said. "There wasn't a lot of fight when it came to fighting time. This team just isn't there yet. It's my job to get them there."
Western Michigan (2-6) returns to Kalamazoo to host James Madison on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.