WMU Men Outlast Ohio for Crucial Win
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – A balanced offensive attack along with forcing a season-high 20 turnovers helped Western Michigan men's basketball grind out a 69-60 win over Ohio on Saturday afternoon inside University Arena.
The Broncos forced Ohio to commit 20 turnovers on the night, scoring 15 points off those turnovers. WMU committed just nine turnovers against the Bobcats marking the 11th game this season the Brown & Gold have had single digit turnovers.
WMU has now won back-to-back contests and four of the last five to improve its overall record to 15-10 and 7-5 in Mid-American Conference play. The Broncos are on the road for three of the next four beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at Bowling Green.
It was a balanced offensive attack for the Brown & Gold as eight of the 11 players that hit the court scored with senior guard Thomas Wilder leading the way with 19 points. Wilder was 50 percent (7-of-14) from the field while recording six rebounds and six assists. The Montgomery, Ill., native exploded in the second half, scoring 15 points of 5-of-10 shooting from the floor.
The sophomore duo of Reggie Jones and Brandon Johnson each reached double figures with Jones recording 13 points off the bench while Johnson collected 10 points. Junior Josh Davis scored five of his seven points in the first half to go along with six rebounds.
On the boards, WMU narrowly outrebounded Ohio, 41-39 as Davis, Wilder, Johnson and junior Seth Dugan each corralled six rebounds. As a team the Broncos shot 37.9 percent from the field compared to Ohio's, 43.4 percent. WMU's offense came to life in the second half, shooting 48.3 percent from the field compared to 29.7 percent in the first half.
From long distance the Broncos connected on six three-pointers and went 13-of-21 from the free-throw line. WMU scored 32 of its 69 points in the paint and made the most of another opportunity with 13 second chance points to Ohio's six.
Ohio had four players score in double figures with Teyvion Kirk leading the way with 14 points. Jordan Dartis and Gavin Block each had 13 points while Mike Laster rounded out the double digit scoring with 12 points for the Bobcats.
In the first half both teams started a combined 2-of-14 from the floor en route to a 3-2 lead for the Bobcats through the first five minutes of play. Out of the first media timeout, Ohio raced out to their largest lead of the game of five with 10 minutes left in the first half.
After tying the game at 16-16 with five minutes remaining, WMU embarked on a 9-0 run with four points coming from Jones to extend their lead. During the final two minutes of play, WMU held Ohio scoreless from the field as the Broncos took a 26-21 lead into halftime despite shooting just 29.7 percent.
Wilder began the second half with a bang scoring eight straight points to give WMU its first double-digit lead of the game. However, Ohio rallied back making seven of their next nine shots to take a one-point lead with five minutes remaining.
Western Michigan countered with a 9-0 run to regain the lead and never looked back as the Broncos made four of their final five shots to secure the 69-60 victory. During the final four minutes of play, Ohio made just two field goals.