GAME NOTES: First place in the Mid-American Conference's West Division will be
on the line as the Western Michigan Broncos visit the Toledo Rockets to square
off at Savage Arena.
The Broncos coasted to a 79-56 rout of Toledo on Jan. 16 in Kalamazoo in the
inaugural bout of the 2012-13 campaign between these divisional rivals on Jan.
16. Shayne Whittington registered a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds
while Darius Paul and David Brown tallied 15 points each in the contest.
Julius Brown netted 16 points for the Rockets, who shot just 37 percent from
the floor in the contest.
Both enter with 8-4 records in MAC play, which has them tied for first in the
West Division with three games left after Wednesday.
The Broncos earned their second win in a row after a two-game slide on
Saturday with a 67-62 win over Pacific in a game that served as part of the
annual BracketBuster event. WMU has now won nine of its last 11 games. Both
the recent losses occurred on the road, dropping the team to 5-8 in true road
tests. Coach Steve Hawkins has seen solid play on both ends of the floor by
his Broncos, who are fifth in the conference in scoring (67.0) and third in
scoring defense (63.0).
In the win over Pacific, Whittington finished with 14 points, seven rebounds
and two blocks. Paul scored 13 points and Brown and Brandon Pokley scored 11
apiece for the Broncos in the final non-conference game of the regular season
for the squad. The Broncos led for the final 10 minutes after Brown's layup
made it 49-47. That began a 7-0 run that gave Western Michigan its biggest
lead at 54-47, but the Broncos couldn't put away from the Tigers until
Whittington and Brown made free throws in the closing minute. WMU hit on 48
percent of its field goal tries and limited Pacific to 36.7 percent shooting
from the floor to pick up the win. Whittington paces the team in both scoring
(12.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg), while Nate Hutcheson chips in 11.1 points
Tod Kowalczyk's Rockets have been on fire since a poor 6-10 start put them in
a hole by the midway point of the season. Toledo collected its seventh victory
in eight games on Saturday as it downed McNeese State, 79-66, in the
BracketBuster event. Toledo is 7-2 at home in 2012-13 and will remain at
Savage Arena for the remainder of its regular season. Rian Pearson is leading
the team and the conference in scoring with 18.3 ppg, while also placing
seventh in the league with 7.1 rebounds per outing. Brown adds 13.2 ppg and
5.8 apg to the mix.
While cruising past the Cowboys, Pearson registered his third double-double in
his last four games with 21 points and 11 rebounds to propel the Rockets to
the 13-point decision. Matt Smith and Reese Holiday added 13 points each while
Dominique Buckley and Brown chipped in 10 each. Brown also tied his career-
high with 11 assists to record his third career double-double. Toledo
connected on 49.1 percent of its field-goal tries including 8-of-18 from
beyond the arc, while holding McNeese State to 42.9 percent efficiency. The
Rockets are scoring and allowing 68.6 ppg.
The Rockets underachieved in the early part of the season and have a golden
opportunity to not only display how far they have come, but also to put
themselves in the West Division's driver seat. WMU had no trouble with Toledo
in round one, but things will change as the competition moves to Savage Arena.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 72, Western Michigan 68