Western Michigan men’s basketball was looking to build off their performance last Friday, where they nearly upset Oklahoma State in Stillwater on the road.
Instead, the Broncos took a step back on Monday afternoon in a 73-51 loss to Yale in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off inside the HP Fieldhouse at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, FL.
The Broncos shot just 29.6% from the field as a team in the defeat against the 16th best team in college basketball in field goal percentage defense. WMU was just 4-of-22 from behind the three-point line while being outrebounded 44-26. Yale, on the other hand, shot 45.3% and hit 13 three pointers to run away from the Broncos.
At the start of the game, it was a slow start for both teams as the first four minutes of action saw just six points total. The Bulldogs would find their footing as the half went on, jumping out to a 25-9 lead with seven minutes to go in the first half.
That is when the Broncos made their run to trim into the lead, as a 7-0 WMU run cut the Bulldog lead to 25-16.
However, Yale would not flinch as they were able to stretch their lead back to 15 points at 42-27 at the midway point in spite of a WMU three-pointer to end the half by Jason Whitens.
In the second half, the Broncos came out with some intensity, scoring the first four points out of the locker room to cut Yale’s lead to 42-31 at the 17-minute mark. But as the Broncos tried to crawl their way back in, the Bulldogs responded with big runs of their own throughout the game.
Yale went on a 9-0 run to go up 20 with 13:32 to go in the game. The Broncos were held scoreless for nearly four minutes as they struggled to put the ball in the basket the entire day.
WMU would try to make a couple of runs to get back into it, but would not cut the lead to closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
Guard Jared Printy was the only Bronco with a hot hand for the game, as he chipped in 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting and 3-of-4 from downtown. Printy cashed in on three of the Broncos four total three pointers for the game.
Also for the Broncos, guard Michael Flowers led the team with 16 points but really struggled to shoot the ball, going 4-of-16 from the field and 0-for-6 from three. Flowers did do a nice job of getting to the foul line, knocking down eight of his nine free throw attempts.
Forwards Brandon Johnson and Jason Whitens also finished the game in double figures with Johnson adding 12 and Whitens pitching in with 11 points.
For Yale, it was an efficient, balanced attack up and down their lineup. Forward Jordan Bruner finished with a double-double at 14 points and 13 rebounds while going 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Guard Azar Swain led the team in scoring at 15 points but shot just 4-of-15, while forward Paul Atkinson had 13 points on 5-of-10 from the floor.
The Broncos will next play Tuesday in what will be the third place game of the NIT Season Tip-Off. They will play the loser of the Bucknell/Seattle game at noon on ESPNU.