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November 12, 2013

Broncos top Tigers, win Hawaii tournament in tiebreaker

The Western Michigan men's basketball team led from post-to-post in the final game of the Rainbow Classic, taking an early lead on Tennessee State and never letting go in winning 63-52 over the Tigers. With the win, the Broncos improve to 2-1 on the season.

Shayne Whittington made his return to the Broncos' line-up and immediately paid dividends, finishing with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

David Brown tied for the game-high with 17 points while also adding three assists and two steals, and Connar Tava finished just behind him by scoring 16 points of 7-of-11 shooting. The Broncos held the Tigers to just 31.7 percent shooting from the field, including a 3-of-23 (.130) mark from three-point range.

The tone was set early in the first half, with the Broncos opening on a 7-0 run to take the lead for good in the game. Whittington notched the first four points of the game, scoring on a right-handed hook shot to give WMU a 4-0 lead at the 18:48 mark.

Brown drilled a three-pointer from just outside the key to cap the run, giving the Broncos a 7-0 lead at the 16:48 mark of the first half. Brown nailed another three at the 13:01 mark to extend the lead to 10-3, and Von Washington stretched it out to eight points with a trey from the right corner to make it 17-9 with 8:00 remaining.

The Tigers pulled to within four points when M.J. Rhett scored on a lay-up to make it 23-19, but Tava scored on a lay-up with 3:47 remaining in the first half to stop the bleeding.

Austin Richie sunk a pair of free throws with 3:28 remaining to make it an eight-point game, and Tava made a lay-up with 47 seconds remaining to give the Broncos a 31-21 lead entering the locker room at half.

WMU did not let up entering the second half, with Whittington throwing down a dunk to open the scoring in the period and Brown scoring four straight points to put the Broncos' ahead 42-25, their biggest lead of the game.

The Tigers went on a 12-0 run to pull within five points with 10:29 remaining and looked to be seizing momentum, but Richie drilled a three to make it 47-37 with 8:53 remaining. Richie scored six straight points, in fact, and Brown hit a pair of free throws with 5:03 remaining to give WMU a 54-41 lead in the game.

The Tigers had one more good run in them, though, pulling to within four points with 2:07 remaining on a Ugo Mmonu lay up. Tava scored on a three-point play on the and-one to make it 59-52, and Richie scored three straight points down the stretch to give WMU a 63-52 win.

Courtesy Sean Fagan, WMU Media Relations


With the win, Western Michigan finished the tournament 2-1, defeating New Mexico State (2-1) and Tennessee State (0-3).

Early this morning, the Broncos landed in Chicago, IL only to find out that New Mexico State defeated Hawaii (2-1), creating a three-way tie for tournament champion.

According to the tournament format, the tiebreaker goes to the team with the best overall "points against" total. WMU led the field of participants allowing just 194 points total (64.7 ppg).

David Brown was named to the All-Tournament team. Brown scored 56 points on 16-42 shooting (19.5 ppg) and finished with 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block for the tournament.

Western Michigan will have five days to rest and get back on Eastern Standard Time before they host Alabama A&M at University Arena this Sunday, November 17th at 2:00 p.m.

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