Bronco Men Dispatch Ball State
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – In front of a crowd of nearly 3,000 on Saturday afternoon inside University Arena, Western Michigan men's basketball never trailed and led by as many as 20 as the Broncos soared to a 73-58 victory over Ball State.
WMU improves to 3-1 in Mid-American Conference action and 11-6 overall. The 3-1 start to conference play is the best start since 2014 as WMU clinched its sixth home victory this season.
The Broncos hit the road to take on Kent State on Tuesday, Jan. 16 before returning home to take on preseason MAC East favorite Buffalo on Friday, Jan. 19 on ESPNU.
From the floor WMU shot just 39 percent compared to Ball State's 42 percent but was lethal from beyond the three-point line knocking down nine threes'. WMU also made the most of its opportunities at the free-throw line, attempting 26 free-throws compared to BSU's, 10.
Leading the brown and gold in scoring for the 12th time this season was senior guard Thomas Wilder with 14 points. Wilder also corralled five rebounds and a season-high eight assists. The Montgomery, Ill., native scored eight of his 14 from the free-throw line, going 8-of-9.
Junior Bryce Moore continued his hot shooting over the past month, notching his fourth straight double-digit performance with 12 points. Moore went 3-of-5 from beyond the three-point line and in the last four games has connected on 13 threes'.
Back-to-Back MAC West Player of the Week, junior Josh Davis neared his second double-double of the season with 11 points and nine rebounds in 31 minutes played. Davis went 4-of-7 from the field and shot 75 percent from the three-point line.
It was a balanced attack by the Broncos against Cardinals as eight of the nine players that saw the floor scored at least five points. Freshman Michael Flowers had a perfect night off the bench, scoring eight points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field while connecting on both three-point attempts.
Sophomore Brandon Johnson neared a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds while senior Drake LaMont registered six points and five rebounds. The starting five of Moore, Davis, Wilder, Johnson and LaMont combined to score 51 of the team's 73 points against the Cardinals.
WMU outrebounded Ball State, 40-35 including 13-7 on the offensive glass. The Broncos forced the Cardinals to commit 15 turnovers, scoring 18 points off those turnovers.
The Broncos opened up the game with a 13-3 run to push their lead to double digits just five minutes into the contest. The scoring was thanks in large part to Moore who had five of the team's first 13 points. After going up by double digits, WMU made just one of their next seven shots, yet still held a 20-7 lead midway through the first.
Ball State cut the lead to single digits late in the first half after WMU during an eight-minute stretch went 1-of-17. However, with time winding down, Flowers nailed a three in the corner to put the Broncos up 36-25 at half.
It was a scorching start for the Broncos in the second half, forcing Ball State to commit four turnovers in a two-minute span and extend their lead to 42-25. In the second half, 10 was the closest Ball State got after going on runs of 11-2 and 9-0.
Down the stretch and WMU leading 66-56, Moore hit a three in front of the Bronco bench with an assist from Josh Davis to put the game out of reach and secure the victory. The win is WMU's third straight at home as the Broncos move to 2-0 inside University Arena during MAC play.