The Western Michigan basketball team fell to the Hawaii Rainbow Warrior 78-68 at the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday.
In day two of the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic, the Broncos were again without Shayne Wittington, who was serving the second of his two game suspension.
Forward duo of Issac Fotu and Christian Standhardinger took advantage of the weak interior of Western Michigan, as they combined for 31 points and 14 rebounds.
However, the Broncos fought hard, trailing the Rainbow Warriors 50-46 with 14:11 remaining in regulation, Austin Richie knocked down a three-pointer to cut the lead to one point, and a jumper from Jared Klein put Western Michigan up 51-50. David Brown made a pair of free-throws to make it 53-52 at the 10:22 mark, but Hawaii outscored the Broncos 15-5 over the next six minutes to take an 11-point edge, leading 68-57 with 6:12 remaining.
From there the Broncos would pull within six points with 4:34 remaining on two more free-throws from Brown. The Rainbow Warriors pulled away once more for a final score of 78-68.
Brown and Kellen McCormick each led the Broncos with 14 points, with McCormick going 4-of-6 from three-point range and Brown 7-of-10 from the free throw line. Jared Klein added 13 points, an assist, and a steal, while Connar Tava had 10 points and two rebounds. Freshman Tucker Haymond led the Broncos with five rebounds and also contributed five points.
The absence of Wittington clearly affected the Broncos, with no post presence the Hawaii frontcourt forced double teams which freed up open looks for Keith Shamburger who finished with 17 points including a trio of three pointers.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Steve Hawkins said there is a lot to take away from this game.
“I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight,” said Hawkins. “Because of the effort I’m going to sleep great tonight, I was really proud of [my] kids effort tonight.”
The loss drops Western Michigan to 1-1 on the year.
The Broncos will welcome Wittington back into the lineup as they will conclude their stay at the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic on Monday when they face Tennessee State.