CMU Falls to Rival Western Michigan, 84-39

Central Michigan University traveled to archrival Western Michigan University Saturday afternoon and came away on the short end of an 84-39 pasting at the hands of the Broncos.

Central Michigan trailed Western Michigan 37-27 at the half Saturday, but couldn't buy a basket in the second half.

The Mid-American Conference West leading Broncos (14-5, 7-2 MAC) outscored the Chippewas (7-11, 2-8 MAC) 47-12 in the final stanza on their way to a resounding 84-39 victory.

"I wouldn't say I was surprised about holding CMU to eight points for much of the second half, pleased would be a better word," WMU head coach Steve Hawkins said. "I'm not as excited about the margin of victory as the fact that we played well. That's far more important than margin of victory."

It was the worst defeat for CMU against its bitter rival since losing to the Broncos 106-45 in the 1959-60 season.

Leading the way for WMU was freshman center Joe Reitz, who scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Four other Broncos scored in double-figures, Stane's Bufford (15), Rickey Willis (13), Levi Rost (11) and Ben Reed (10).

"Our point guards really did a great job pushing the ball and getting us easy layups at the other end," Reitz said.

Central Michigan played the game without two of its starters, junior Kevin Nelson and sophomore Sefton Barrett, who were suspended for a violation of team rules. CMU head coach Jay Smith would not specify the violation.

"They are suspended indefinitely," Smith said. "They broke team rules and they're paying the price. We all paid the price."

Nelson and Barrett are CMU's top two scorers in MAC action with Nelson averaging 19.3 points and Barrett 11.1. In their absence, freshman Jeff Bohnhoff led the Chippewa scoring attack with eight points. Seniors Tom Pantlind and Robert Sevalia added seven points apiece.

"Obviously, it's a tough day going against a good team," Smith said. "They got the offensive rebounds and we didn't. Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way."

The Broncos controlled the boards on both ends of the court, outrebounding CMU 50-28 for the game.

The Chippewas made 12-of-23 shots from the field in the first half for 52.2 percent, but fell apart in the second half, shooting just 13.8 percent on 4-of-29. WMU shot 46.4 percent for the game, converting 26-of-56 shots.

"I thought our focus was back, our energy was back," Hawkins said. "We got back to basics, playing defense, rebounding the ball which enabled us to get out and run."

CMU now returns home to play MAC West opponent Ball State, Thursday night, Feb. 3. Tipoff in Rose Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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