Collum Steps Up Big In Win

Senior guard Robby Collum celebrated his 22nd birthday by sealing a hard-fought 56-52 Western Michigan (3-1) victory at Michigan (0-4) Saturday afternoon in non-conference action.

The Broncos have now claimed four of the past six meetings with the Wolverines, including a 79-73 win at University Arena last season. The victory was the program's first at Crisler Arena since 1997.

Collum drained all six of his charity stripe chances down the stretch as the Broncos managed to fend off a furious Wolverine comeback. The Racine, Wis., native finished with a game-high 17 points and also chipped in five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Junior Anthony Kann narrowly missed a double-double, concluding the afternoon with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Both offenses struggled throughout the contest, falling victim to tough defense and cold shooting. WMU owned a slim 25-24 halftime lead following a Nick Evola putback in the closing moments of the half. Western Michigan shot 28.6 percent (10-of-35) in the opening 20 minutes while the Wolverines connected on just a 30.4 percent clip (7-of-23).

The Broncos never trailed in the second half, but weren't able to secure the victory until the final moments. Leading 36-30 at the 14:58 mark, WMU missed a pair of chances to push the gap to at least eight points, however, as a pair of turnovers kept the Wolverines in the game.

WMU maintained its lead and eventually pushed ahead by seven points with 8:48 remaining. A quick 6-0 run by the Wolverines set the score at 46-45 in favor of the Broncos with 5:58 left. Kann got loose in the lane for a basket and Collum knocked down a fadeaway jumper and the lead was back to five points.

A combination of Wolverine pressure and Bronco miscues nearly cost Western Michigan the game in the final seconds. Back-to-back turnovers trying to inbound the ball led to three quick UM points and suddenly it was a one possession game.

Following a pair of Collum free throws, UM's Daniel Horton set the score at 54-52 with 18 seconds left. WMU's Ben Reed was quickly fouled, but missed both free throws and gave Michigan the shot at victory. The ball was eventually worked around to the left corner and senior LaVell Blanchard launched a 3-pointer with Mike Williams in his face. The ball bounced in and out of the rim before being rebounded by Collum with less than a second remaining.

The senior drained his final two charity tosses to seal the victory. Collum and Kann managed to play significant minutes down the stretch with four fouls each.

Western Michigan will look to continue its best start since 1997-98 (4-0) with the home opener versus Detroit Monday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.

Broncos Illustrated Top Stories