Western Michigan Blitzes Herd In Tourney, 96-62

Cleveland, OH--Marshall guard A.W. Hamilton just stared at the stats page, and it took all he could muster to utter two words. "It's hard," was Hamilton's summation of the 96-62 loss his Marshall team had just suffered at the hands of #1-seeded Western Michigan in the second round of the Mid-American Conference tournament at Cleveland's Gund Arena on Thursday night...

The Broncos simply took a 10-point halftime lead (38-28), added in a 11-0 run to begin the second half, and effectively took away any chance Marshall had of getting back in it. Western forced 12 Marshall turnovers (compared to only three WMU turnovers) in the first half to get the 10-point lead that would explode later in the second half.

"They were sharp at the beginning of the second half, and that was difficult for us to overcome," Marshall coach Ron Jirsa described the early part of the second half. "I don't think tonights' game was indicative of how we played over the last couple weeks, but I do give Western Michigan credit. They played a very good ballgame today."

Marvin Black and David Anderson applied pressure to Western Michigan's Anthony Kann in the first half at Cleveland's Gund Arena.

Marshall missed their first six shots of the second half, while WMU's Brian Snider hit a layup and then a huge three-pointer during the first two and one-half minutes of the second half.

"They defended us pretty well, disrupted some of our stuff," said Marshall forward Marvin Black. "We couldn't get into our stuff like we had the last couple of weeks, and it showed. "

Western Michigan hit 7-of-13 threes in the second half, part of a blistering 57.1% (20-of-35) and 58-point outburst in the last 20 minutes of play. Marshall shot 48.8% (20-of-41) for the game, but only 37.5% (6-of-16) from three.

The most telling stat was rebouding: Western Michigan grabbed an amazing 19 offensive rebounds, exactly half of their 38 rebounds in the game (Marshall grabbed 25 total).

Tre Whitted and Eric Smith closed in on WMU's Ben Reed during the second half of the Broncos' 96-62 win in Cleveland.

"We knew if we didn't come out with some energy, a team here could put us out," said WMU forward Mike Williams. Williams teammate Ben Reed added, "We tried to come out and play defense. That's been our main focus this year."

Marshall was led in scoring by Marvin Black's 15 point, 12-rebound performance. Ronny Dawn added 12 points, the only other MU player in double figures. Western Michigan had five players hit double figures: Anthony Kann (17), Ben Reed (16), Mike Williams (15), Reggie Berry (13), and Brian Snider had 12 points.

The Herd ends the season with a 12-17 overall record, 8-10 in MAC play. Western Michigan moves on to face the winner of Thursday night's late matchup between Buffalo and Toledo in the semifinals of the MAC tournament.

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