Saturday's MAC Men's Basketball Results

Updated 12/8/2012

Saturday's MAC Men's Basketball Final Scores
Eastern Michigan 47, Purdue 44
Bowling Green 57, Samford 42
Ohio 78, Oakland 61
Toledo 67, Eastern Illinois 59
Ball State 62, South Dakota 51
Buffalo 77, Niagara 67
Charlotte 78, Central Michigan 66
Dayton 83, Miami 61
Illinois State 85, Western Michigan 63

Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Eastern Michigan 47, Purdue 44
YPSILANTI, Mich. ( — The Eastern Michigan University men's basketball team held off Purdue University, 47-44, Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Convocation Center. The Eagles (6-2) defeated a Big Ten Conference opponent for the first time since an 89-83 overtime victory against the University of Michigan, Dec. 17, 1997, in Ann Arbor.
Saturday's win was the first home victory over a Big Ten team since a 92-76 throttling of Wisconsin, Dec. 10, 1994 at venerable Bowen Field House.
The Green and White trailed by as many as nine points early in the first half, but were behind by just one at the break after closing the period on a 6-0 run. Efficient three-point shooting and solid defense contributed to the Eagles charging ahead by as many as 10 in the second frame. A late push by the Boilermakers (4-5) proved not to be enough as the Eagles remained undefeated (6-0) at home this season.
As a team, Eastern Michigan shot 17-of-55 (30.9 percent) for the game and 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) from long distance. Following a 0-for-8 mark from three-point range in the opening 20 minutes, EMU caught fire to the tune of a 5-of-10 effort in the second half.
Senior Derek Thompson (Detroit, Mich.-Melvindale) had a pair of those three-pointers and led the Eagles in scoring with eight points. Saturday's win was truly a team effort as all 10 players that saw action scored at least two points. Redshirt junior Daylen Harrison (Akron, Ohio-St. Vincent-St. Mary's) hauled in 11 boards and added four points.
EMU also won the turnover battle, forcing 18 Purdue turnovers while making just five of its own. The Eagles also picked the Boilermakers' pocket 11 times, with nine players turning in at least one steal. Junior Da'Shote Riley (Detroit, Mich.-Detroit Country Day) and redshirt junior Glenn Bryant (Detroit, Mich.-Oak Hill Academy) each posted a pair of blocks on the afternoon.
For the Boilermakers, Terone Johnson (12 points), A.J. Hammons (11) and Ronnie Johnson (11) all reached double figures despite the rest of the team only contributing a total of 10 points. Purdue shot just under 30 percent for the game (14-of-47) and was 4-of-14 (28.6 percent) from downtown.
Action began with the Eagles forcing a pair of early turnovers. However it would be the Boilermakers who would put away the first seven points of the game with Eastern Michigan failing to convert on its first five shots. A J.R. Sims' (Fort Wayne, Ind.-Snider) jumper at the 15:59 mark gave the Eagles their first points of the game and cut the deficit to 7-2.
Ronnie Johnson made it an 11-2 score for Purdue before EMU put together a mini 5-0 run to again trail by five, 11-7. Freshman Ray Lee (Detroit, Mich.-Romulus) gave a great individual effort, driving the lane and scoring the basket while drawing a foul. Senior Matt Balkema (Roseville, Mich.-Cousino) started and finished EMU's next possession, grabbing the defensive board before putting back Lee's missed three-pointer to bring EMU to within three, 14-11, with 6:18 to play.
Purdue went 4:28 without a point until Ronnie Johnson sunk a pair of free throws at the 4:17 mark. Meanwhile, the Eagles were having trouble at the charity stripe, converting on just one of their first seven attempts.
Eastern Michigan's defense was efficient in the latter stages of the opening half, notching turnovers on three straight possessions while keeping Purdue off the scoreboard. The Eagles took full advantage of a pair of those turnovers, with Sims and Harrison cashing in. Lee added a jumper with four ticks remaining on the clock to send the Green and White to the locker room down by just one, 20-19.
The period ended with EMU scoring seven points off of 11 Purdue turnovers. In contrast, the Eagles committed just three turnovers over the first 20 minutes. EMU finished 9-of-33 (27.3 percent) compared to a 6-of-24 (25 percent) effort by the visitors. Both teams combined to go 1-of-14 from beyond the arc with EMU going 0-of-8 and Purdue 1-of-6.
Seven EMU players found their way onto the scoresheet in the first half, with Lee and Sims leading the charge with four points apiece. Purdue was paced by Johnson's nine points.
Thompson gave the Eagles their first lead, 22-20, and first converted three-pointer of the afternoon at 18:45. Purdue quickly tied the game to break its streak of 3:41 without a point, but redshirt junior Austin Harper (Grand Haven, Mich.-Grand Haven) filled a pair of free throws to put EMU back on top.  Moments later, Bryant scored another three-ball and Sims did the same at 15:40 to make it a five-point contest for the Eagles, 32-28.
Purdue's scoring woes persisted through the middle portion of the second half. Jacob Lawson hauled in a rebound off a missed attempt by Hammons and failed to lay in the rebound. Harrison caromed the board and fed a pass to Thompson, who pulled up behind the three-point arc and nailed his second trey. The Eagles were in charge by nine, 37-28, with 11:16 showing on the clock.
After a Harrison jumper made it 44-34 for the Eagles, the Boilermakers strung together six unanswered on a pair of three-pointers from Terone Johnson to cut EMU's lead to four, 44-40, with 4:45 to play. At the 1:40 mark, D.J. Byrd got a wide-open look from the left corner and let off a three-point attempt which missed to keep Purdue down by four, 46-42.
Coming out of a timeout, Purdue made it a one-possession game when Ronnie Johnson maneuvered to the basket for an easy layup. With just 1:14 to play, it was a 46-44 game.
Eastern Michigan used up the entire 35 seconds of play clock on its next possession, with Bryant's try from behind the backboard missing the mark. Purdue took the ball into EMU territory and called its final timeout with 23 seconds left. After the break, the ball found Johnson, whose three-pointer was offline and gave possession back to the Eagles.
The Boilermakers fouled Riley, who buried the front end of a one-and-one. Riley's second shot was no good, which sent Purdue racing the other way. But Johnson's careless ball handling allowed Harris grab possession.
A final Purdue foul put Harris at the line, where he failed to make either free throw. That did not matter however, as the Boilermakers did not have enough time to get off a final shot. A jubilant EMU student section hit the court with the team to celebrate a 47-44 Eagles' victory.
The Eagles are back on the hardwood Saturday, Dec. 15, with a 1 p.m. road tilt against the University of Illinois-Chicago in Chicago, Ill. EMU will have a chance to win its first road game of the year against the Flames after starting the season 0-2 away from home.
Bowling Green 57, Samford 42
Bowling Green, Ohio – The Bowling Green men’s basketball team held Samford to 27 percent shooting in the second half as the Falcons overcame a 14-point first-half deficit to defeat the Bulldogs 57-42 Saturday afternoon in the Stroh Center.
 Bowling Green scored a season-high 40 second-half points and held Samford to just nine points over the first 17 minutes of the final period. The Falcons got strong second-half efforts from Jordon Crawford and Chauncey Orr as the duo combined for 23 in the last 20 minutes.
In holding Samford to 42 points, Bowling Green posted its second consecutive game in which an opponent was shut down, following a 54-41 win over Wayne State. It is the first time that a Bowling Green men’s basketball team has held back-to-back opponents to 42 points or less since doing so against Loyola and Pepperdine on Dec. 22 and Dec. 27, 1949.
It didn’t look great early-on as the Falcons quickly fell behind 16-6 before rallying to get within five at 18-13. A’uston Calhoun, who scored eight of those first 13 points, picked up his second foul with 7:41 to play in the half and went to the bench. Bowling Green’s offense went into a funk and Samford scored the next nine points to take its biggest lead of the game at 27-13. Luke Kraus hit a pair of jumpers in the final 90 seconds of the period to get the Falcons back within 10 at the break.
As the second half began, Bowling Green began to find its rhythm, scoring on the first four offensive possessions of the period to close to within six. James Erger’s three-pointer with 12:30 left made it 33-30, but Samford scored on its next possession to go ahead by five.
From there, the Bulldogs scored just one point in a 10-minute stretch as the Falcons took over. Crawford hit back-to-back three-pointers to put Bowling Green ahead for good at 36-35 as the Falcons used a 22-1 run to pull away. By the time the dust settled, the Orange and Brown led 52-36 with less than two minutes to play and the Falcons rolled to the 57-42 win.
Three players scored in double-figures for Bowling Green, led by Crawford who scored all 14 of his points in the second-half after going 0-for-9 in the opening 20 minutes. Calhoun finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, leaving him with 998 career points and putting him on the precipice of becoming the 40th player in school history to reach 1,000. Orr tied his career-best with 11 points, nine of which came in the second half.
Richaun Holmes came off the bench to post seven points, five rebounds and three blocked shots, his fifth consecutive multi-block game. Luke Kraus added six points and two steals.
As a team, Bowling Green made 15-of-17 free-throws for 88.2 percent. In the last five games, the Falcons have shot 84.3 percent from the line.
The Falcons also had a 35-27 rebounding advantage and committed just eight turnovers, seven fewer than Samford. The turnover differential accounted for a 23-7 BGSU scoring edge in points off of turnovers. Bowling Green’s bench outscored an opponent for the sixth consecutive game as the Bulldogs got just four points from their non-starters.
Samford falls to 2-9 with the loss and Bowling Green moves above .500 for the first time this year at 5-4. The Falcons will have 10 days off before hosting No. 19 Michigan State Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Stroh Center. The Spartans will be the first ranked men’s basketball team to ever play a game in the Stroh Center.
Ohio 78, Oakland 61
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Men's Basketball got back to its winning ways on Saturday afternoon, earning a 78-61 win over the visiting Oakland Grizzlies. The win was Ohio's 15th consecutive home victory and improves the team to 7-2 on the season.
Senior guard D.J. Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) recorded his 18th career double-double in Ohio's victory, scoring 10 points and dishing out 13 assists. Cooper's assist total fell just two shy of his career high, which was set at Akron on Jan. 12, 2011. Joining Cooper in double figures were Walter Offutt (14 points), Nick Kellogg (12 points), and Reggie Keely (10). Keely (University Heights, Ohio) pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
Travis Bader had a very strong outing for the visitors, scoring a game-high 29 points on 8-of-18 shooting. He was especially dangerous from three-point distance, hitting 7-of-12 attempts from beyond the arc.
Ohio shot an efficient 50.8 percent from the field in the win, connecting on 31 of its 61 field-goal attempts. Oakland (3-7) operated at a 40.4 percent clip, hitting 21 of its 52 shots from the field. The Bobcats won all of the `specialty stat' categories during Saturday's contest, most notably the battle of points in the paint. Ohio outscored Oakland in the paint by a dominating 40-20 margin. 
Offutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) got off to a fast start for the Bobcats, slashing through the lane for two early layups in the opening minutes of the contest. Oakland was able to force Ohio into a few mistakes in the early going, generating five Bobcat turnovers in the first five minutes of the game en route to running out to an early 10-4 lead.
The Bobcats erased this early deficit and took the lead courtesy of an 8-0 run which began at the 14:04 mark of the first half and took just 59 seconds. D.J. Cooper had a hand in every one of these eight points, hitting a three and a layup while assisting on Nick Kellogg's corner three-pointer.
The teams battled through a back-and-forth first half which featured four ties and six lead changes, ultimately ending with Ohio on top by a score of 39-29. The Bobcats ended the first frame shooting 15-of-32 (46.9 percent) from the field, a figure which included a 4-of-13 (37.5 percent) mark from three-point distance. Ohio held a narrow edge in rebounding (17-16) and closed the first half on a 15-6 run over the final 3:33.
Oakland's Travis Bader led all scorers in the first half with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field. For Ohio, Offutt led the way offensively, scoring 12 points. Kellogg and Cooper were not far behind this mark, adding nine and eight, respectively. Cooper showed great court vision in the first half, dishing out five assists to accompany his eight points.
Oakland started the second half in a brisk manner, connecting on three three-pointers in the first 3:22. The Grizzlies would begin the frame on a 15-7 run, trimming their deficit to two (46-44) at the 15:40 mark when Raphael Carter threw down an emphatic dunk. Oakland would get as close as one (48-47) when Bader drained a three-pointer following a layup by Cooper.
The Grizzlies proceeded to take their first lead since the 6:39 mark of the first half when Ryan Bass and Carter combined for back-to-back alley-oop dunks beginning with 13 minutes remaining in the game.
The Bobcats regained control shortly thereafter, tying the game at 53 when Travis Wilkins (Springfield, Mo.) hit a three-pointer with 11:07 to play. This spurred a 24-2 run which lasted 8:13 and put the `Cats ahead by 19 points, 74-55. During this stretch, Ohio held Oakland without a field goal for 10:48.
Ohio will next be in action on Saturday, Dec. 15 against Winthrop. The Bobcats and Eagles will tip off from The Convocation Center beginning at 2 p.m.
Toledo 67, Eastern Illinois 59
CHARLESTON, IL – Toledo led from start to finish on Saturday evening to post its first road win of the season with a 67-59 victory at Eastern Illinois.
“We did some good things defensively tonight and it was a nice road win for us,” Toledo Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “I don’t think we played nearly as well as we did in our last two games at Cleveland State or Detroit, and a game like this shows us that we have areas we still need to work on.”
Junior G Rian Pearson led a Rocket attack which saw four players score in double figures with 22 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Senior G Dominique Buckley tallied 13 points and four assists, while junior F Matt Smith and sophomore G Julius Brown scored 10 points apiece. Brown also dished out a team-high five assists.
“Rian did a great job of attacking on the offensive end and also had a strong game defending their shooters,” Kowalczyk said.
Freshman G Alex Austin topped the Panthers with 21 points with sophomore F Josh Piper contributed 17 points. 
The Rockets shot a season-high 59.1 percent, including a scorching 64.0 percent in the second half, and limited the Panthers to a 36.0 shooting mark. 
Toledo started strong and opened a 16-7 advantage just over six minutes into the game. Austin and Piper then combined to hit four straight treys to make it two-point contest, 23-21, 4:22 before the half.  UT held the Panthers scoreless the rest of the way to take a 26-21 lead into the intermission.
The Rockets posted a 52.6 FG% in the opening half but were hampered by eight first-half turnovers. EIU was ice cold in the first stanza, shooting 25.0% but converted 35.7 percent (5-of-14) of its three-point attempts.
UT looked ready to put the game away early in the second stanza when Pearson converted a three-point play at the 15:42 mark to give the Rockets a 38-25 advantage. Toledo maintained a sizable cushion until Austin’s three-point bomb pulled the Panthers within 56-51 with 5:52 remaining.
Toledo came up with key baskets down the stretch though as Buckley and Brown both hit shots as the shot clock was expiring. Pearson put the final nail in the coffin with a baseline jumper for a 65-59 lead with 51 ticks left.
“We wanted to score at the end of the shot clock late in the game and I thought we really executed our offense well down the stretch,” Kowalczyk said. 

Toledo will now take a break for finals before returning to action on Tuesday, Dec. 18 for an exhibition contest vs. Siena Heights. Tip-off time from Savage Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.
Ball State 62, South Dakota 51
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men’s basketball team earned a 62-51 win over South Dakota Saturday afternoon at Worthen Arena. Three Cardinals scored in double figures, including junior forward Chris Bond, who notched his second career double-double.
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 4-4 on the season, while the Coyotes dropped to 4-6. The teams will meet again next Saturday, Dec. 15 in Vermillion, S.D., as part of a unique home-and home series.
Senior guard Jauwan Scaife led the way for Ball State with 14 points. The Muncie native drained a key trey at the 1:03 mark that gave the Cardinals a 58-51 lead, and he scored the final seven points of the game to seal the win.
Bond finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 4-of-6 from the floor. His only previous double-double came last season against eventual NCAA Sweet 16 team Ohio.
Freshman guard Marcus Posley was the third Cardinal in double figures with 12 points, including nine after the break to help the Cardinals open up what was a tie game until midway through the second half.
One of the biggest offensive catalysts for Ball State was Matt Kamieniecki. Though he scored just two points, the junior post player found openings in the middle of the South Dakota zone and set up teammates to score. Kamieniecki, whose previous career high for assists was three, dished out eight helpers against the Coyotes.
Junior forward Majok Majok led all players in rebounding with 16 and was one point shy of his fourth double-double of the season. Majok now has 33 rebounds over his past two games. As a team, the Cardinals brought down a season-high 48 boards Saturday, out-rebounding South Dakota by 18.
"The rebounding effort was tremendous for us," Ball State coach Billy Taylor said. "We did a great job on the defensive glass. We forced a lot of misses, but we only gave up nine offensive rebounds. That's good to see that commitment we have made in practice carry over to the game."
Ball State ended the game shooting 43.1 percent from the field (22-for-51) to South Dakota’s 33.9 percent (20-for-59).
South Dakota opened the game with six straight points before Bond scored at the 17:37 mark to kick-start a 12-0 run.
The Coyotes battled back to knot the game at 21-21 with 6:18 to go in the first half on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Steve Tecker, and the teams went to the locker room tied at 26-26.
The game was still tied, 39-39, with 12 minutes to play, but Ball State scored the next six points on two jumpers from Posley and one from Zach Fields to take a lead it would not lose. The Cardinals out-scored South Dakota 23-12 to end the game.
Tecker scored a game-high 15 points for South Dakota, and Trevor Gruis added 14. Juevol Myles entered the game averaging a team-best 14.9 points, but Bond took him out of the game defensively, holding him to three points on 1-of-9 shooting and 0-of-6 from beyond the arc.
"I thought Chris did a tremendous job putting pressure on the basketball," Taylor said. "Chris is a long, athletic, aggressive defender and tries to keep you off balance and make you uncomfortable as an offensive player. I thought he did that today, and he had great help from our bigs behind him."
Buffalo 77, Niagara 67
BUFFALO, NY – Will Regan scored a career-high 26 points and the University at Buffalo men's basketball team never trailed in a 77-67 win over Niagara at Alumni Arena on Saturday night.
Regan shot 8-of-11 from the field, 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. The sophomore forward also added a career-best eight rebounds in the victory.
Jarod Oldham had 18 points and seven assists and Tony Watson added 14 points, including four three-pointers.
An Xavier Ford free throw broke and 18-all tie to give the Bulls the lead for good. The game was close throughout the first half as the Bulls held a 30-28 lead with 1:49 left. But the Bulls closed the stanza on a 7-0 scoring run to take a 37-28 into the locker room at halftime.
Buffalo (4-7) built its lead to 11 points early in the second half before the Purple Eagles battled back. Niagara whittled the UB lead to 56-54 with 10:18 left, before two Watson three-pointers silenced the threat and put the Bulls ahead, 62-56, with 7:41 left.
With UB leading by five, Regan drained a pivotal three-pointer from the corner to extend the UB advantage to eight with 3:20 left. The Bulls made 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
A game after scoring a career-high 31 points, Javon McCrea was held to without a field goal for just the second time in his career. He finished with just three points, but added four rebounds and three blocked shots in 21 minutes.
Defensively, the Bulls held Niagara to just 36 percent shooting from the field. The Bulls were uncharacteristically outrebounded, 39-32.
"If we were going to go in and start off and say we were going to get outrebounded and get zero field goals from Javon, you'd probably say it was going to be a long, long night," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "But I think the guys hung together and we defended pretty well."
Buffalo will now take a break for finals and next play at Washington State on Dec. 21.
Charlotte 78, Central Michigan 66
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Four players scored in double figures for Central Michigan, which was only out-rebounded by one, but 62 percent shooting in the second half by Charlotte gave the 49ers their ninth win, 78-66, to start the season.
The Chippewas (4-4) came within single digits on several occasions in the second half, but each time the 49ers (9-0) had an answer to pull away - a cycle that repeated itself three times during the highly physical contest.
Central scored the first five points of the second half to come within two, but a 14-3 run over the next five minutes by the 49ers gave them a 13-point edge, 48-35, at the 12:26 mark. Fighting back again, the Chippewas came within seven only to see their deficit go back to 12, and were within six, 64-58, at the 3:40 mark before eight points by the 49ers gave them their largest lead of the night at 14 with 2:08 remaining.
Charlotte scored 22 of their 31 first-half points from inside, still shooting just 38 percent, but found the stroke in the second half and hit 62 percent, mainly from outside, to hold off the Chippewas' surges by scoring on eight of 10 possessions between 8:04 and 2:08.
The 49ers entered the game out-rebounding their opponents by 6.6 boards per game but were only able to edge the Chippewas by one, 37-36. CMU had one more offensive board then Charlotte.
"We knew Charlotte would, just like they have eight times prior this season, come into the game and try to push us around," said CMU head coach Keno Davis. "We had to make sure we met that intensity and pushed right back. We didn't execute like we need to but I'm not so sure we didn't play our best game of the year. We were a couple plays short of making it a ballgame at the end but I can't fault our effort today."
Kyle Randall led the Chippewas' scoring with 15 points, followed closely by a season-high 13 from Olivier Mbaigoto and a career-high 13 from John Simons. Blake Hibbitts turned in 11 points and a career-high seven rebounds off the bench. CMU hit 89 percent of its free throws, going 16-of-18 from the line while Charlotte was just 10-of-15.
"Coming into the game I wasn't so sure that we would have enough (on the boards)," said Davis. "But our leading rebounders were freshmen. They are going to look different before they are done. We will add pieces and become a better team but what you can't teach as a coach is effort and attitude. You have to recruit that. We are fortunate that we have guys who will be the base of a good program where we compete night in and night out."

Dayton 83, Miami 61
DAYTON— Miami kept it close in the first half in Dayton on Saturday night, but the Flyers' 46 second-half points were too much to overcome, and the RedHawks (3-5) fell by a score of 83-61. Junior forward Will Felder scored a career-high 18 points and junior forward Jon Harris added 16, a season high, but that was not enough to come away with a victory.
Miami jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead by taking advantage of two Flyer turnovers, including the very first possession of the game when Harris nailed a 3-pointer after a steal by junior guard Quinten Rollins. Dayton (7-2) came back with a three of its own and the two squads traded baskets, bringing the score to 11-9 in favor of the RedHawks. Neither team scored a point for nearly three minutes after that, until junior forward Allen Roberts broke the drought with two free throws.
The score reached 18-9 after two Miami baskets, but Dayton fought back to within two, 18-16, with just over 11 minutes remaining in the half. The score remained close as each team traded baskets. With just under six minutes to go until halftime, the Flyers took their first lead of the game, 23-22, on a jumper by Josh Benson. Neither team held a lead greater than three for the rest of the half until Dayton’s Kevin Dillard laid one in with just a second left on the clock. Dillard’s basket gave the Flyers a 37-33 lead going into the locker room.
Dayton took the momentum it had to end the half and brought it to the second, scoring six of the first nine points to extend its lead to nine, 45-36. Miami’s three points in the opening minutes came from Felder, who also scored the RedHawks’ next basket to cut the deficit to seven points with just over 15 minutes left. The Flyers continued to score in bunches, to the tune of an 11-3 scoring run to take a 17-point lead. A Rollins free throw at the 11:09 mark was the first Miami point not scored by Felder in nearly 12 minutes of game time.
A trey from Harris brought the RedHawks back within 15, but the Flyers would not relent, rattling off four straight points of their own. Miami actually outscored Dayton in the next two minutes of game time 8-6, but it was not enough to overcome a substantial Flyer lead. When the horn sounded, the RedHawks found themselves on the losing end of an 83-61 decision at the hands of local rival Dayton.
Miami’s rebounding woes continued tonight, with the RedHawks finding themselves on the wrong end of a 45-22 margin.
Felder and Harris were the only scorers to reach double figures for Miami. Felder also added four assists, another career high for the junior.
All five of Dayton’s starters scored at least 10 points with Dillard and Devin Oliver each scoring 15. Benson finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for his first career double-double.
The RedHawks have 11 days off before their next game, a matchup with Wright State on the road December 19 at 8 p.m. Miami returns home three days later to face the University of Illinois-Chicago at 1:30 p.m.
Illinois State 85, Western Michigan 63
NORMAL, Ill. - Senior Nate Hutcheson posted his first career double-double and first of the season, but the Western Michigan men's basketball team suffered an 85-63 loss at the hands of the Illinois State Redbirds at Redbird Arena on Saturday.  With the loss, the Broncos fall to 6-3 on the season.
Hutcheson broke back into double-digits in scoring to bounce back from a low scoring night against Michigan on Tuesday, posting a team-high 15 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes played.  Following Hutcheson in scoring was freshman Darius Paul, who contributed 14 points and eight rebounds for his eighth straight double-digit scoring performance.  Senior Brandon Pokley also added 13 points, breaking double-digits in points after two games below the mark.
The stout defense of the Redbirds proved to be a sticking point for the Broncos, who shot just 33.9 percent from the floor.  Illinois State went aggressively at the Broncos, recording seven steals and 10 blocked shots.
The Broncos took an early lead on the Redbirds, stunning the home crowd with an 8-0 run to open the game.  Shayne Whittington got things going early when he plucked an offensive rebound off the glass and tipped it in at the 19:04 mark, and Austin Richie scored a bucket in transition one minute later when Whittington swiped the ball from Bryant Allen and hit Richie in stride for the fast break lay-up.  
Paul would keep the run alive with a tip-in on Hutcheson missed shot at the 17:44 mark, forcing the Redbirds' head coach Dan Muller into a 30-second timeout to regroup his team.  Paul would seal the run for the Broncos at the 16:07 mark, hitting a turnaround jumper to give the Broncos an 8-0 lead.  The Redbirds would storm back, but the Broncos held the lead as late as the 11:24 mark of the half, when Jared Klein made a pair of free throws to keep WMU on top 14-13.
The Redbirds went on a 12-3 run late in the half, taking a 29-20 lead with 5:40 to play and keeping the Broncos on their heels.  The Broncos' best chance to cut into that lead came early in the second half, when a torrid shooting streak pulled the Broncos to within two possessions.  After the Redbirds scored the first basket of the second half, the Broncos responded with a three-point bucket of their own.  Richie hauled down a defensive rebound and shot a pass across halfcourt to Pokley.  Pokley faked a drive and forced his defender beneath the three-point line, and proceeded to drill the wide-open triple to cut ISU's lead to 44-38.
The closest the Broncos would from that point came several minutes later, when Hutcheson missed the second half of a pair of free throws at the 17:42 mark.  Paul leapt into the lane and grabbed the loose ball, throwing down the dunk to make it 47-40.  Illinois State would control the rest of the game, with the Broncos pulling only as close as nine points the rest of the way.