Broncos Ground the Rockets

Tuesday night the Broncos men's basketball team played host to conference rival Toledo at University Arena in front of 2,366 fans. The Broncos held off a late second half run by the Rockets to secure a 67-64 victory. The win halted a 6-game losing streak to the Rockets.

The Rockets won the tip-off and quickly went on a 10-2 run to start the game. But the Broncos were able to keep the game close with the play of Anthony Kann and Mike Williams to start the comeback. Kann made a steal at mid-court that resulted in points and on a spectacular play, while running out of bounds, Williams stole the ball and was able to keep it inbounds, the steal also resulted in points.

Once the Broncos were able to catch up on the scoreboard both teams took turns taking the lead. Neither team was able to get more than a 2-point lead late in the first half, until the Broncos led 32-29 with less than three minutes left in the half. With less than a minute left in the first half Sammy Villegas hit his 4th three-point basket of the game to tie it up at 32-32. Which is what the score was heading into the locker room at halftime.

The Broncos were out shot from the field .440 to .429. The Rockets shot .583 from behind the three-point line while the Broncos shot .500. Both teams shot .750 from the charity stripe. Ben Reed and Sammy Villegas led all scorers with 12 points in the first half; all of Villegas' points came on three-point baskets. Bobby Madison led the first half in rebounds pulling down 5 of the Broncos 19 first half rebounds.

The second half started better than the first half for the Broncos despite four fouls early on the Broncos grabbed their biggest lead of the game 43-39 with 15:21 left in the game including a Ben Reed 3-pointer and a Jeff Bronson dunk. The Rockets however quickly recovered to regain the lead 46-45 with 11:33 left in the second half.

Following the timeout the Broncos came back out on the floor and after a couple lead changes, the Broncos got a huge three-point basket by Ben Reed and a basket underneath by Mike Williams to take a 55-50 lead with 7:28 remaining.

The Rockets were able to get to within three points before the Broncos went on another run that was capped off by a Reed three-point basket (his fifth of the night) and a Terrence Slater dunk. Slater's dunk gave the Broncos their biggest lead of the night, an 8-point lead 63-55 with 3:54 remaining.

Following the time-out the Rockets once again chiseled away at the Broncos lead pulling to with in 6, 65-59 with 1:58 left. Following a Toledo timeout the Rockets were able to draw Anthony Kann into his fifth foul of the game, taking Kann out of the game at the 1:46 mark.

With 2 seconds left in the contest, Ben Reed who scored a season high 25 points sank two free throws to secure the victory. Reed played the game just 2-days shy of the one-year anniversary of his knee injury in a game against the Ball State Cardinals at University Arena.

Reed led all scorers with 25 points including 5-6 from 3-point range. Keith Triplett had 15 points and had a game high 7 rebounds and 3 steals. For the game the Broncos out shot the Rockets from the field .476 to .370. According to Coach McCullum the Broncos goal has been to hit 46% of their shots, a feat that has only been accomplished twice this season. From the 3-point line the Broncos held the Rockets to no baskets in 8 attempts during the second half and out shot the Rockets .500 to .350 for the game from behind the line. The Rockets strength in the second half came at the Charity stripe shooting 14-17 in the second half and having a .810 to .724 advantage for the game.

The Broncos (15-7, 7-6 MAC) head to Ohio University for a 1:00pm matchup on Saturday, February 22. The Rockets (10-13, 4-9 MAC) host Eastern Michigan University on Saturday, February 22.

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