Rochester, MI (WKZO) – With the injury bug hitting the Broncos hard, it’s been a different member of the basketball team to step up their game during the current winning streak. Tonight against Oakland it was Austin Richie, as the freshman finished with a career high 22 points to lead the Broncos to a convincing 91-76 win over the Grizzles. The Broncos basketball team has now won 4 games in a row and 5 of their 6 after starting the season 0-6.
With forward Flenard Whitfield still out with an ankle injury, guard David Brown out for the season with a torn ACL and with Brandon Pokely recently injuring his ankle, Coach Hawkins has had to rely on players like Richie to pick up the slack.
“Richie to this point had just been playing a role as a spot up shooter”, Coach Hawkins said. “Tonight we saw him do a heck of lot more. I told him it was time to be completely aggressive and play his game, and tonight he did.”
The high scoring Grizzles offense was held in check for most of the game, as they scored below 76 at home for the first time all season. This was also the largest loss for Oakland at home in over 4 years.
All five Broncos starters finished with at least 12 points and each played at least 30 minutes as well.
“They kicked the crap out of us tonight”, said Oakland head coach Greg Kampe. “I think Western was averaging 26 points per game and they scored 91 on us.”
Kampe was obviously joking as the Broncos are averaging 68 points per game. However, 91 points was the highest scoring output from Western all season.
Tonight was one of the first nights that Western actually got off to a hot start, which hasn’t been there forte and at times has really hurt them in early in the season. But half way through the first half Western was already up double figures and took a 45-27 lead into the half.
The 2nd half saw Oakland chip away at the lead getting it to within 12 at the 16:43 mark. But Western was able to stretch the lead to 23 with 11 minutes left. Oakland’s last ditch attempt reduced the lead to 10 with fewer than 4 minutes left but Oakland never could get any closer.
This was the first matchup between Western and Oakland in 10 years. The two teams will face each other 3 more times over the next 3 years. Western will host Oakland in 2012 and 2013 and return to play in Oakland in 2014.
The win was also Coach Hawkins 150th as the Broncos head coach. He is only the 3rd Bronco coach to eclipse the 150 win mark. Hawkins was unaware of the feat when it was brought up to him after the game.
“It means I’ve been here awhile more than anything else”, Hawkins said jokingly. “I feel great about the administration and the chance I’ve been given. I’ve had a lot of great players and when you have great players it makes your job a little easier.”
Hawkins job doesn’t get any easier as the Broncos next take on the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Arena on December 30th. Duke is currently ranked 5th in the ESPN/US Today Poll and 7th in the AP Poll.