Broncos Win Despite Slow Start

Thursday evening the Broncos men's basketball team came from behind to defeat Marathon Oil 87-68. The 1,104 fans in attendance witnessed a slow start from the Broncos that resulted in the Broncos heading into the locker room down 35-36 at half-time.

The Broncos played the second and final exhibition game without starting center Anthony Kann who was held out action due to a minor knee injury as a precaution to allow him time to heal before the season opener against the USC Trojans. Kann's absence gave newcomer junior Levi Rost a chance to start.

Mike Williams got the games first basket, but just under 9 minutes later Marathon had an 8 point lead, their largest lead of the game. Without Kann in the game the Broncos lacked an inside presence on offense throughout the first half. The Broncos had 43 rebounds in the first half 18 of them were offensive rebounds.

The Broncos also had a difficult time getting their shot going shooting 37.8% from the floor making just 14 of 37 shots. Rost had a difficult time getting his shot down early on hitting just 2 out of 6 three point attempts. Rost however was able to get inside and finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds (2 on offense, 6 on defense).

Despite the difficulties in the first half, Brian Snider was able to keep the Broncos in the game with his defense and by making some timely shots. Snider was making some crisp passes including a few dazzling no look passes and on defense he had a solid game. Snider had a team high 7 assists while Marathon's Mark Miller also had a team high 7 assists. Snider had a game high 2 steals while 6 other Broncos contributed with a steal apiece. Snider's play allowed the Broncos a chance to get both their feet in the game until Mike Williams was able to get his shots to go and freshmen Wes Devries was able to step up in Kann's place in the second half. "That is Brian. What you saw tonight is his game," said Head Coach Steve Hawkins.

Devries had a game high 19 points making 9 of 10 field goals and draining his only free throw attempt. Williams contributed 14 points and a block. Only Williams and Snider were able to block any shots for both teams. Talking about the game he had, Devries said "I'm not used to playing like that."

Coach Hawkins, Snider and Devries all admitted that the Broncos came out flat and it was a talking to the team by Hawkins at halftime that got the Broncos focus on the current game and not on the upcoming game against USC. Snider added his thoughts on the upcoming game against USC, "If we come out flat like we did tonight, they will just bury us."

The Broncos strong second half gave them an advantage in field goal and three point shooting percentages (49.4% and 66.7% respectively). Marathon shot 42.6% from the floor and 64.7% from behind the three point line and was led by Kyle Kickert who finished with 14 points. Each team had four players in double figures in scoring.

The Broncos open the regular season and their home schedule next Friday with their first ever meeting against USC. USC finished the 2002-03 season with a 13-17 record which was good enough for 6th place in the PAC-10. Tip-Off time is at 7:00.

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