Both Western Michigan basketball teams brought out the fans to Read Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon. Western women got things started against MAC foe, Toledo, and Western men rounded things out against Ohio University in the second matchup of the day.
The 2019-20 college basketball season has seen parity in every vein of the basketball landscape. Top teams have fallen to unknowns, the ESPN Matchup Predictor has proven unreliable to the point of absurdity and Saturday was no different.
The WMU women started the events off with a dominating performance against the visiting Rockets. The Broncos opened the first quarter with strong play and got up early: 20-12. Things slowed down a bit in the second quarter for both teams, but the home team carried the lead into half: 32-20. The third quarter was another slugfest that ended with WMU adding a bit more cushion to their lead. The fourth quarter however, delivered an absolute shocking onslaught of points from both WMU and Toledo. in the fourth quarter alone, both teams accounted for a total of 70 points.
The scoring barrage was so intense that it caused the first game of the afternoon to run a solid 20+ minutes long into the men’s tipoff time. After the scoring bombardment, Toledo managed to erase the additional four point surplus WMU had racked up in the third quarter, but was unable to erase the remainder of their halftime deficit. Western Michigan topped Toledo with a score of 84-72 with four Broncos posting double figures (Wool, Walker, Mobley and Bailey).
Players of the game were Mariella Santucci for Toledo and Jordan Walker for Western Michigan. Santucci turned in an impressive 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists. Wool helped the Broncos with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
While the WMU women (7-4 at tipoff) were favored to win in their matchup against Toledo (5-6 at tipoff), ESPN gave 80.5% pregame odds to the Ohio Bobcats in their matchup with the Bronco men in the second game of the day. Those odds might shock casual observers, with both teams coming in with near identical records (WMU 7-6 and Ohio 8-5). The teams also seemed to be tracking in opposite directions, with WMU dominating their series leading up to Saturday, with the exception of a foregone matchup with Michigan State, and Ohio dropping games to Campbell University and a couple of less than convincing wins in non-conference play before Saturday.
The men got off to a blazing fast start and appeared ready to seal things up far earlier than what many might have expected, given the teams’ seemingly equal matchup. The Broncos jumped out to a massive lead before Ohio even knew what had hit them. However, the elation would not last long as Ohio clawed their way back behind outside shooting that made a game of things the rest of the way.
The Broncos proved too much for the Bobcats, however, as they finished the day with four players (Johnson, White, Wright and Flowers) well into double figures in an attack that kept pressure on from both inside the paint and outside the arch. Western Michigan starts MAC play at 1-0 after the 77-65 win.
Players of the game were Ben Vander Plas and Michael Flowers. Vander Plas finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and block. Michael Flowers finished with 15 points 7 rebounds 4 assists and a steal.