Bronco Men End Skid, Beat Northern Illinois


KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Western Michigan men's basketball shot 60 percent from the field in the second half and 53.8 percent overall to defeat Northern Illinois, 79-72 inside University Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The win snapped WMU's three-game losing streak as WMU improved its overall record to 12-9 and 4-4 in Mid-American Conference play. The Broncos are on the road all next week traveling to Eastern Michigan on Jan. 30 before a showdown with Buffalo on Feb. 2 on CBS Sports Network.

WMU had five players score in double figures for the fourth time this season with senior guard Thomas Wilder leading the way with 25 points. The senior guard was 8-of-12 from the field while also knocking down seven of his eight free-throw attempts.

The Montgomery, Ill., native collected two rebounds and dished out five assists.

Over the week against Toledo and Northern Illinois, Wilder had a combined 65 points on 52.7 percent shooting from the field. Wilder recorded a total of nine assists along with seven rebounds and was 22-of-25 from the free-throw line.

Sophomore Brandon Johnson collected 13 points against the Huskies on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor. Johnson recorded a team-high seven rebounds along with one block and one steal in 32 minutes played.

Second on the team in scoring was junior Josh Davis with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. From beyond the three-point line, Davis went 3-of-6 and collected one rebound and one assist.

Rounding out the scoring for the Broncos was senior Drake LaMont with 12 points and junior Bryce Moore with 11 points. All five starters for WMU reached double figures and scored 76 of the team's 79 points.

Overall, WMU shot 53.8 percent from the floor including a staggering 60 percent in the second half alone. From long distance the Broncos connected on 10 three-pointers and was 13-of-17 from the free-throw line. In the second half, WMU shot 50 percent from three and 80 percent from the charity stripe.

The Broncos scored 20 points off of 10 NIU turnovers and limited the Huskies to just 27.8 percent from the three-point line. NIU outrebounded WMU, 29-23 including 14-8 on the offensive boards.

WMU is now 37-8 at home all-time against the Huskies and have won 13 of the last 17 meetings overall. Head coach Steve Hawkins improved his record to 99-28 in home conference games while the Broncos are now 7-1 in Saturday contests.

In the first half, neither team was able to get the ball into the hoop as the game was deadlocked at 15-15 for nearly five minutes midway through. The Huskies jumped out to their biggest lead of five at the four-minute mark of the first half thanks to a 13-3 run to lead 23-18. However, WMU battled back and went on a 9-0 run to end the half with five points coming from Wilder to take a 31-27 lead into halftime.

Coming out of the locker room, the Broncos stormed out to a five-point lead thanks to five straight points form Wilder. WMU's offense started to roll midway through the second half, connecting on eight straight field goals, four of which were three-pointers.

WMU never trailed in the second half, despite NIU cutting the Bronco lead to four with four minutes remaining. A three-pointer from the top of the key by Bryce Moore proved to be a signature moment as the Broncos extended their lead to nine at the three-minute mark.

Down the stretch the brown and gold made eight straight free throws to secure the seven-point home victory over the Huskies.

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