Western Michigan men's basketball relied on their youth in Saturday's 76-56 win over a veteran Kalamazoo College team.
Host of 89.1 WIDR's "The Run", Manny Wilson gives his five takeaways from the men's teams' debut:
A young team on the rise
The Bronco’s young players have plenty of playmaking skills.
Freshman players like B Artist White and Titus Wright displayed a ton of potential, playing with confidence and taking advantage of his much smaller opponents throughout the game. Wright could be heard hyping-up his team from the bench and the court on Saturday.
Although B. Artist White ended the night a mediocre 3-10, he did not once second guess his shooting ability by becoming passive down the stretch. He looked confident and poised leading the Broncos offense at point guard.
Redshirt junior Jason Whitens finished the game with a sneaky career-high 21 points, shooting an impressive 87%.Whitens, who missed all of 2018-19 taking a medical redshirt, had never seen the court for more than 14 minutes before Saturday.
The Bronco’s sophomore and freshman class continues to look promising and loaded with players that can distribute, create shots and make effective plays on both sides of the ball.
Head Coach Steve Hawkins must continue to allow his young players to flourish within his offensive game plan.
Offensive game plan
Although this was the first exhibition game of the season for Western Michigan Basketball, the Bronco’s offense looked very stagnant throughout the first half. Players seemed restricted and indecisive on offense until the back end of the first half.
Ultimately, the second half was a lot different. The Bronco’s offense began to flow smoothly as players became much more decisive on when to be aggressive offensively. Less play calls and more free flowing basketball allowed the Bronco’s to gain a 22-point lead with only nine minutes into the second half.
The Bronco’s did not have much of a challenge in the second half as they defeated the Hornets 76-56.
Shooting the ball
We know that senior guard Jared Printy will have more than three shots like what he recorded Saturday against K' College, scoring just six points in 15 minutes, but WMU shouldn't rely on just Printy or Flowers for offense.
As a team, the Broncos were not able to shoot the ball effectively throughout the entire of the game. The most effective shooting came from the free throw line, as Jason Whitens lead the team in free throw attempts, shooting 5-5. The Bronco’s shot 70.6% all together from the free throw line.
Shot selection during this matchup was not the reason the Broncos did not shoot above 50%. Layups and easy paint buckets were efficient, however the Bronco’s shot 8-29 (27.6%) for the game from behind the arc.
Out of the 29 three-point attempts, very few were heavily contested or in the face of a defender. Many of the attempts were on target, slightly contested or wide open but the ball rattled and bounced off the rim over and over again.
The Bronco’s had far too many forced turnovers (13) against a below average defense on Saturday. Despite the large scoring runs, the Bronco’s made careless mistakes in the first and second half of the game.
A stagnant offense in the first half lead to the Broncos committing eight turnovers by mostly throwing bad passes. As the offense began to flow a lot more freely in the second half, the number of turnovers decreased by three. Extra possessions for opposing teams have to be limited in order to win tough matchups in the future.
Western Michigan basketball is best known for their emphasis on defensive communication. The Broncos capitalized on 81% of 16 turnovers forced against Kalamazoo College in the home opener.
The defensive intensity denied many easy buckets and forced the Hornets to use a large portion of their shot clock on multiple occasions. The quick defense by the Broncos was the difference in the second half, and as a result, what separated them from Kalamazoo College on Saturday.
Western Michigan's hosts McNee State at University Arena for their first home game on Wednesday, Nov. 6. We'll see if the defense can keep up their intensity.