UT: Ridley Johnson, Tyrone Kent, Jonathan Amos, Jerrah Young, Anthony Byrd
WMU: Joe Reitz, David Kool, Andrew Hershberger, Michael Redell, Shawntes Gary
Western Michigan is going to come out pretty confident. The Broncos allowed Ball State the fewest field goals *ever* in their team history on Wednesday, 12. They also shot 65 percent in the second half, and the last two games have allowed just 57.7 points.
Perusing the Bronco game notes I saw a section that read, Good things Andy Katz has said about WMU (paraphrasing). Among them is, I have heard this from countless coaches in the MAC: Playing at Western Michigan is one of the toughest road games in the league and might be one of the hardest in the country. Tim O Shea is Katz s main MAC source and the Bobcats won in overtime here last year, so
Unfortunately we re missing the Quick Change halftime act by a couple days; they re coming Wednesday against Central Michigan. I hope UT brings them back soon!!
Usually when Jerrah Young and Ridley Johnson score double digits, the Rockets win. When they don t, UT loses. So I m going to use that as my key to the game.
Halftime WMU 32, UT 27
UT finished the half on a 9-0 run, making three 3 s from three different guys. The Rockets did it by not allowing any second chances for the Broncos, which had happened earlier in the half. WMU didn t have one rebound in the last 3:37.
UT is a bad matchup for WMU and the Rockets were giving the Broncos a lot of trouble on the defensive end to start. The Rockets made the Broncos look for shots for the majority of the shot clock.
But then the Rockets started sagging in and the Broncos hit five straight 3 s after missing their first six. The Broncos had a chance to break it open after going up 14 with three minutes left. Credit UT for not freaking out and getting its feet set on 3 s.
Kool and Reitz didn t score for the first 10 minutes of the game, and Reitz only has three points. That s between a combo of Jerrah Young and Mohammed Lo, who played seven minutes and had two blocks.
Young has looked anxious on offense and has no points with three turnovers. He got two fouls with 7:39 left in the half but was able to play three more minutes after without picking up another.
To win this game UT has to get Young involved in the offense and keep the score low. They won t win a transition game, they had to work too hard in the first half.
Final: WMU 75, UT 62
This one came down to shot-making. UT did not make high-percentage shots. I mean, at one point, the Rockets were 4-of-28 on two-pointers. That seems unheard of.
Never going to shoot as well on the road and UT did a good job of keeping turnovers low and obviously hitting a ton of 3 s (11-23). Quite frankly, Kent and Amos took a number of heavily contested shots and several of them were air balls or big-time bricks.
I asked Joplin after if Kent and Amos feel a lot more pressure when UT gets down. He said, They think they have to score because we only play seven guys. They take too much responsibility on themselves. It s good, but it s bad also.
Jerrah looked kind of lost out there; it was the first time in six games he didn t have at least eight points. It s the first time all year he didn t have a basket. I m sure he will bounce back, but UT really missed his rebounds and the close looks he usually converts.
As far as signs that UT will eventually win a road game, I saw much better defensive intensity, and Lo and Bingham made contributions which they are starting to do more of consistently. But it seems like they still have a fairly long way to go to get a road win. They have another chance in three days.