Broncos Stop the Trojans

Friday evening the Western Michigan University Broncos not only became the first MAC team in 4 tries to be the University of Southern California Trojans, but they did it in convincing fashion. In a rare home game against a PAC-10 Team the Broncos sent the 4,126 fans into a frenzy late in the second half enroute to an 83-65 victory.

The Broncos improved their record against the PAC-10 to 3-6 with their other wins against Oregon State and UCLA. The victory marked the first victory for new head coach Steve Hawkins.

The Broncos were led by senior Mike Williams who scored a career high 31 points. Williams scored the first six points in both halves for the Broncos and never let up. In the first half he led all scorers with 12 points and he was tied with Rory O'Neil of the Trojans with 4 rebounds. Williams also finished with a game high 9 rebounds. Coach Hawkins said after the game, "If you start running plays for Mike, he starts missing shots."

Throughout the game the crowd was somewhat of a factor, however with 7:05 left in the game senior Anthony Kann sank two free throws and the crowd erupted. What happened next was a crescendo of enthusiasm. The Broncos made consecutive baskets by Kann, Williams, Kann and senior Reggie Berry. Each basket was greeted with even louder cheers and the deafening noise from the crowd was a slam dunk short of blowing the roof off of University Arena.

In an attempt to steal the momentum and quiet the crowd, the Trojans called a timeout. Despite the attempt the Broncos outscored USC 15-6 over the final 4:27 to seal the victory. Junior Ben Reed commented on the crowd following the game, "If it wasn't for the fans I don't think we would have got through tonight."

The unusual home game was set up in the off-season when Coach Hawkins received a phone call from USC asking the Broncos for a 2 for 1 series with the first game needing to be played in Kalamazoo. The request was made to give Flint, Michigan native, senior Desmon Farmer the opportunity to play a game in Michigan in front of his friends and family. Farmer is the Trojan's leading returning scorer and is 26th on USC's all-time career scoring list and 10th in career three pointers for the Trojans. Sophomore Brian Snider had the difficult task of defending against Farmer.

In the first half Farmer was limited to just two points, both free throws. He missed both three point attempts and had 3 turnovers. He finished the game with 12 points hitting 3 out of 10 from the floor, 2 out of 7 from the 3-point line and he converted all four of his free throws. However, he finished the game with five turnovers.

Snider finished the game with 6 rebounds, 7 points and a game high 8 assists. His game high five steals helped pace the Broncos as one of his 3 second half steals helped led the Broncos late run following Kann's free throws that gave the Broncos the lead for good. "Snider played great defense, he took him (Farmer) out of the game," Williams said. Reed added, "Brian Snider came in and did a good job on Farmer." All Coach Hawkins could say when he was asked if they did anything different on Farmer was, "We put Brian Snider on him."

The Broncos finished the game shooting 48.3% from the field and 90.9% from the charity stripe, hitting 20 out of 22 free throw attempts. "The 48% is great, especially when you combine it with the 12 turnovers," Hawkins said.

The Broncos (1-0, 0-0 MAC) now head to Detroit to take on the Titans on Monday at Calihan Hall, tip-off is set for 7pm. The Trojans (0-1, 0-0 PAC 10) return home to take on Cal State Northridge on November 30th.

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