Broncos Outlast the Gents

On Saturday, December 14, 2002 the Western Michigan University Broncos hosted the Centenary College Gents in non-conference basketball action at University Arena in front of 2,103 fans. The Gents came into the game with a four-game winning streak and a record of 4-3. The Broncos entered the game with a 4-2 record after having lost to the Miami RedHawks last week 44-39 in Mid-American Conference action.

Through the first 4 ½ minutes of play both teams played good defense. On offense the Broncos scored 6 points on a free throw by Ben Reed, a three-pointer by Robbie Collum and a basket by Mike Williams. 2 Buckets by Michael Gale and two free throws by Chad Maclies made it a 6-6 game.

Following the first official timeout the Gents jumped ahead of the Broncos on a basket by Andrew Wisniewski. Nick Evola tied the game up on a basket of his own and Collum put the Broncos ahead of the Gents 11-8 with his 2nd three-point basket of the game. It was at this point in the game that the Bronco defense put the clamps on.

The Broncos came back after the 2nd official timeout and held the Gents to 0 points while scoring 5 of their own on a three-point basket by Rickey Willis and a 2-point basket by Anthony Kann. With just under 8 minutes left in the first half the Broncos held a 16-8 lead.

Following the official's timeout the Gent came out and pulled to within 5 on a three-point basket by Wisniewski, but the Broncos then began to pull away. The Broncos scored the next 7 points on a three-pointer by Reggie Berry and a basket a piece by Kann and Terrance Slater. Following a Centenary timeout the Gents came out and Ronald Mickel put in two baskets with another basket by Kann sandwiched in between. A free throw basket by Mike Williams gave the Broncos a 26-15 lead.

The teams finished up the first half with a dunk by Michael Gale for the Gents and Ronald Mickel's basket pulled the Gents to within 7 before Kann made a baseline jumper to give the Broncos a 28-19 halftime lead. Kann led all scorers at halftime with 8-points. Mike Williams was leading everyone with 4 first half-blocked shots. For the half the Broncos had a 30% shooting percentage, as did the Gents. With four three-point baskets the Broncos held a 40% to 25% shooting percentage advantage behind the three-point line. However the Gents had a 50% free throw shooting percentage compared to the Broncos 44% shooting percentage.

After the break the Broncos came out of the locker room and went on an 11-5 run capped off by a three-point basket by Kann. The highlight of the run was a Collum pass to Terrance Slater for the basket. With less than six minutes gone by in the second half the Broncos had increased their lead to 16 points at 40-26.

The Gents junior guard Josh Thibodeaux got hot at that point making 3 three-point baskets. In that stretch the Broncos scored ten points while the Gents put in 13 points to make the score 50-39 in favor of the Broncos.

The Broncos then went on a 7-3 run with Nick Evola scoring six of the Broncos seven points (2 field goals and 2 free throws). Reggie Berry put in a free throw for the Broncos. But, the Gents continued to fight to stay within striking distance despite being out-manned by the Broncos. The lack of depth for the Gents began to show late in game as the Broncos pulled away and built up a 22-point lead at the 4:17 mark, 66-44. The lack of depth also showed with two players in foul trouble for the gents. Both Rickey Evans and Ronald Mickel were playing with four fouls a piece.

The Broncos pulled out the victory in the end winning the game 72-52 after Ben Reed capped off the Broncos scoring with a three-point basket. For the game Anthony Kann led all scorers with 16 points and was 2 rebounds short of a double double. His 8 rebounds were also a game high. The Gents' Ronald Mickel had a game high 6 blocked shots while Robby Collum recorded a game high 4 steals. Reggie Berry for the Broncos and Josh Thibodeaux for the Gents tied for the game high with 3 three-point field goals. Both teams shot 34% from the field but Centenary had a higher free throw percentage (78%) than the Broncos (64%). The difference in the game was the Broncos shooting percentage from behind the three-point line. The Broncos shot 42% compared to the Gents 35% from three-point range.

The Broncos will be in action again on Tuesday when they travel to Auburn for an 8pm tip-off. The next Broncos home game will December 21st against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

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