Broncos Continue Road Woes

The Western Michigan University men's basketball team (15-9, 7-8 MAC) saw its second-half rally fall short in a tough 80-72 loss at Eastern Michigan (13-11, 7-8 MAC) Wednesday night in league action.

The Broncos, who trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half, closed the gap to four points with 59 seconds left. EMU made its free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory.

With three games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Broncos must now battle for a home first round game in the upcoming MAC Tournament.

Junior forward Mike Williams led all scorers with 21 points and was one of three WMU players to finish with double figures in points. Classmate Anthony Kann chipped in 13 points before fouling out and senior Robby Collum added 15 points. Freshman Brian Snider accounted for seven points and six boards, personal bests in both categories.

Trailing 37-28 at the half after shooting 38.7 percent in the opening 20 minutes, WMU's fortunes didn't appear to be headed in the positive direction in the opening moments following intermission. The Eagles extended the lead to 16 points at the 16:06 mark on a charity toss by EMU's James Jackson.

"I thought the first four minutes of the second half were the difference in the game," head coach Robert McCullum said. "We were a different team in the final 16 minutes of the game, but you can't expect to play well for just a portion of the game and come away with a win, especially on the road."

Plagued by foul trouble the entire game, both Williams and Collum missed significant time, an unlikely group of players chipped into the lead. Junior Reggie Berry, senior walk-on Antwan Joseph and sophomore Rickey Willis were among that group. Williams scored 10-straight points, but was aided by transition play from Berry and Snider.

Collum's trey closed the gap to 65-58 and the Broncos had the momentum for the first time in the game. EMU's Michael Ross, however, answered with the 3-pointer of his own to push the advantage back to 10 points and Western Michigan's efforts appeared to have been in vain.

The Broncos had one more push left. A pair of trifectas by Collum and Berry could have cut the margin to three points, but both rimmed out and the Eagles netted a basket at the other end. Now down eight points with 1:40 left, WMU whittled the deficit to 76-72 on a midcourt steal and layup by Snider. Three Eagle charity tosses on a pair of possessions and back-to-back Bronco turnovers were too much to overcome down the stretch.

EMU finished 31-of-41 from the line, marking opponent season highs in both makes and attempts.

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