The Western Michigan Broncos (20-11) defeated the Eastern Michigan Eagles 70-55 in front of 3,361 fans at Quicken Loans Arena to advance to the semifinals of the MAC Tournament.
The Eagles (16-18) defeated the Miami Redhawks (9-22) Wednesday night in Cleveland, to earn the right to face the Broncos in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament.
The Broncos began the game looking sharp both offensively and defensively, as they led 8-2 early on thanks in part to a couple of Shayne Whittington baskets.
The lead wouldn't last long however, as both teams began to settle in and the Eagles picked things up offensively. EMU's Daylen Harrison would knock down a deep three-pointer from the corner with 10:26 left in the first half to give the Eagles their first lead of the game at 12-11.
The two teams continued to battle back and forth as both squads uncharacteristically relinquished points at a furious pace. WMU's David Brown and EMU's Daylen Harrison and Jalen Ross contributed to the scoring outburst mid-way through the first half going a combined 6-6 from three-point range in as many possessions.
The Eagles held on to the lead for nearly 8 minutes, until a Darius Paul no-look bounce pass to Shayne Whittington at the 2:53 mark gave the Broncos the lead back at 32-31. WMU would close out the first half on a 13-3 run, holding a 36-32 edge heading into the locker room.
WMU kept up the tempo in the second half as they stormed out to another 10-4 run, extending their lead to double-digits. However, the Eagles would make yet another run in the second half cutting the Bronco lead to just one, trailing 50-49 with 8:31 remaining.
Once again, it was freshman Darius Paul who sparked the Broncos and helped them get back on track as they slowly pulled away from EMU in the final minutes of the game.
Around the 3-minute mark, EMU began to foul and implement a series of traps. However it wasn't nearly enough as Western Michigan was able to close out the game out at the free throw line. The Broncos ended the game on a 20-6 run.
Shayne Whittington led all scorers with 23 points and 8 rebounds. Darius Paul and David Brown chipped in 14 and 12 respectively.
Eastern Michigan's Daylen Harrison led the Eagles with 14 points.
The Broncos will face the defending champion and two-seed Ohio Bobcats Friday night at 9:00 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena. The Broncos fell to the Bobcats previously at home 61-59, on January 12th.