By Zachary Anderson
The Western Michigan Broncos cruised to an easy 85-40 win over the Marygrove Mustangs Tuesday night in their home opener at University Arena.
Senior guard Brandon Pokley led all scorers with 16 points hitting 4 of 8 from long distance, and big men Shayne Wittington, Darius Paul, and Nate Hutcheson all recorded double digit scoring efforts.
The Broncos dominated inside and controlled the glass from the start, scoring 40 points in the paint also outrebounded the Mustangs 47-20.
The Broncos were on the attack all night, holding a strong defensive game on the Mustangs, forcing 21 turnovers that turned into 32 points and limiting them to below 30 percent shooting from the field.
The Broncos used a 22-3 run at the start of the second half led by three triples from Brandon Pokley to go up 57-26 and and put the game out of reach early.
Pokley said he was able to get open looks from three thanks to his big men creating havoc inside.
“When they’re battling down there it makes the defense focus on them, and that’s great for the guards because it opens up opportunities for us,” he said.
“Pounding the ball inside and getting layups is something that Coach Hawkins emphasizes a lot, and we try to focus on that every game because it can change the momentum and put things in our favor. We have great bigs and if we give them the ball we’re going to be successful.”
A Jared Klein steal and fastbreak layup extended the Broncos’ lead to 61-29 and forced the Mustangs to take a timeout with 11:16 remaining.
The freshman guard helped keep the Broncos lead intact by keeping the pressure on the Mustangs. He stole the ball three times which led to a couple transition buckets, and he drove into the lane for a few easy layups to go along with two assists.
The lead climbed to 76-38 with 3:20 left, and Coach Hawkins decided to sub in players off the bench to give them some playing time and award his regulars some rest.
Twelve out of the 14 Broncos who played scored, and the team’s overall unselfishness helped to make it an easy win. They moved the ball around effectively with 16 assists and turned the ball over only eight times.
Although the Broncos led the game from the start, Coach Steve Hawkins said he was not pleased with his team’s effort in the first half and he addressed that at halftime.
“Who we are at our core has got to be about intensity, toughness, defense, rebounding and talking,” Hawkins said. “We were not a very intense team in the first half. It all starts out with communication, on the ball and off the ball, and in transition. In the first half we did not communicate well, and that’s what we talked about. As soon as we started talking, we became a much more assertive team.”
The Broncos will take on Loyola- Chicago on Nov 16th which will kick off their weekend series of the South Florida MTE in Tampa Fla. At 5p.m.
Photos by Adam Roberts