Broncos Extinguish the Flames

On Wednesday night the Western Michigan University Broncos and the University of Illinois-Chicago thrilled the reported 3,078 fans at University Arena by taking the game down to the very last second. The Broncos came out on top 63-62 as the fans were rocking University Arena for most of the game.

The Flames jumped out to an early 8-0 lead before the Broncos were able to get on the board and then went on a 7-0 run. Ben Reed scored 10 points for the game. 5 his 10 points came in the Broncos first 7 points. As the Broncos brought the game to within one, the Flames were able to pull back ahead but never had a lead by more than four points.

Following a lay-up by Armond Williams that put the Flames up by four at 13-17, Mike Williams was able to tie the game up at 17-17 by putting in his first four points of his 17 points for the game. Shortly after Williams tied the game up Robby Collum drained a three-point basket that gave the Broncos a 22-19 lead, a lead they held until late in the second half.

The Broncos shot .500 from the floor in the first half and was paced by Anthony Kann's 9 points. Armond Williams paced the Flames with 7 points as the Flames only shot .344 from the floor. At the free throw line the Flames were 5-9 for a .556 shooting percentage while the Broncos shot .500 (1-2) from the line. The Broncos also had an advantage in three-point shooting percentage making 2 out of 8 attempts for a .250 shooting percentage. The Flames failed to convert on any of their 3 attempts from behind the three-point line.

Although the fans were in the game from the start, it was in the second half that the fans came alive. Mike Williams, Ben Reed and Coach McCullum were all smiles when asked about the fans. Williams and Reed commented on how the fans were the team's sixth man last night.

In the second half the Broncos were only able to build a lead of 10 points and the Flames were able to go on a run to make the game close again. The Broncos held a 10-point lead when Jeff Bronson drained a jump shot to give the Broncos a 41-31 lead. The Flames were then able to pull to within two several times as the game went on and finally with 3:09 left in the contest and Anthony Kann laying on the court after getting hit in the nose and bleeding profusely, Joe Scott converted a lay-up. Scott was fouled on the play and converted his free throw and gave the Flames a 59-58 lead.

Thirty seconds after the Flames took the lead, Mike Williams made a jump shot that gave the Broncos the lead again and sent the Broncos on a 5-0 run before Aaron Carr drained a three-point basket with no time left on the clock.

Once again Anthony Kann led the Broncos. For the ninth time this season Kann recorded a double double. Kann put in a game high 19 points and a game high 13 rebounds. Kann also converted 7-10 free throws. Cedrick Banks and Armond Williams led the Flames. Banks and Williams both scored a team high 18 points. Banks also recorded 9 rebounds for the Flames.

The Broncos field goal shooting percentage went cold in the second half converting only 8 of 29 attempts for a .276 shooting percentage. The Broncos shot .382 for the game. The Flames shot .429 (15-35) in the second half and .388 for the game. From the three-point line the Broncos shot .143 (1-7) in the second half and .200 for the game. The Flames who led the Horizon League with a .410 three-point shooting percentage shot just .222 (2-9) in the second half and just .167 for the game. However, the Broncos were dominant from the free throw line shooting .739 (17-23) in the second half and .720 for the game. The Flames made only 3 of 11 free throws for a .273 shooting percentage. For the game the Flames shot .400 from the charity stripe.

The win gave the Broncos a 5-3 edge in the all time series against the Flames. It also gave the Broncos their first 20 win season since the Broncos 1997-98 season when they went 21-8 and went on to the NCAA Tournament posting a win against Clemson before losing to Stanford.

The Broncos (20-10) will play Siena College next. According to the Siena College website www.sienasaints.com the Saint's will host the Broncos at Albany's Pepsi Arena on Sunday at 7:00pm. However, checking with the NIT website no time and location has been announced.

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