Broncos Sports First Blog

  • After Weekend Sweep, Broncos Hockey Moves Up To #8; Slubowski And Brown Honored

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – With a sweep of Norte Dame this past weekend, the Broncos hockey team has moved from up 3 spots in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Poll to #8. WMU defeated Norte Dame 3-2 Friday night in South Bend and 3-1 Saturday night at Lawson Arena.

    Goalie Frank Slubowski stopped 49 of 52 shots he faced this weekend and because of that was the GongShow Rookie of the Week. On the season, the Prince Rupert, British Columbia native is 6-4-3, with a 2.05 goals against average.

    Defenseman Dennis Brown was also named Gladiator Defenseman of the Week. Brown had a hand in nearly every Brown & Gold goal on the weekend. On Friday he assisted on the game-tying goal by Chase Balisy in the third period that sparked the Bronco rally. On Saturday he had a career night, setting a personal-best with three assists. His defensive effort also helped the Broncos kill off six of seven Notre Dame power plays. His four point weekend pushed his season total to 16 on the season. His 14

    The Broncos are now in sole possession of second place in the CCHA, 1 point behind Ohio State.

    Western Michigan heads to Miami this weekend for a pair of games against the RedHawks on Friday at 7:35 p.m. and on Saturday at 7 p.m.

  • Matt Stainbrook Named MAC West POTW

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – For the second time this season Matt Stainbrook has been named MAC West Player of the Week. Stainbrook was also named POTW December 26th.

    The 6’9 sophomore averaged 14.5 points this past week and recorded his second double-double on the season after finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds against Toledo. With the help from Stainbrook, the Broncos went 2-0 this past week and are now 8-3 in their last 11 games.

    For the season, Stainbrook is averaging 13.6 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game.

    This is the 3rd time during the 2011-2012 season that a Bronco has been named POTW.

  • Broncos Shut Down Rockets, 74-52

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – If you would have asked me 2 months ago who would have scored more points against WMU, either the Toledo football team or basketball team, I would have bet my life savings on the basketball team. If someone would have taken me up on that bet I’d be broke right now as the Western Michigan basketball team held the Rockets basketball team to a season low 52 points as the Broncos came away with their largest victory of the season 74-52. (Side note, the final score of the WMU/Toledo football game was 66-63 Toledo.)

    “That’s the best we’ve played around here in a quite some time,” Coach Steve Hawkins said. “I thought offensively we picked up where we left off the other night. We were really unselfish.”

    “This is a very good offensive team in Toledo.”

    Toledo came in averaging 75.4 points per game and was leading the MAC in field goal percentage at 46%, but the Broncos held the Rockets to only 35% on Saturday.

    Flendard Whitfield had his best game since injuring his ankle a month ago as he finished with 19 points in only 22 minutes of action. Whitfield and Matt Stainbrook were key in helping the Broncos outrebound the Rockets 48-24. Mike Douglas also pitched in with 10 boards.

    “We took advantage of the size, we just had a better size differential,” Whitfield said. “We used our physical ability to tip some balls out that, which we do on a regular basis. Our guards are a big part of that rebounding core too. You have to be willing to get your noise dirty. Shaq could be out there but you still have to be able to rebound.”

    After trailing early in the game the Broncos used a 16-2 run to put themselves up double figures and remained up by more than 10 for the majority of the game. Western took a 33-21 lead into halftime and extended that lead to as much as 29 with 4:54 left in the game.  WMU outscored Toledo 41-31 in the 2nd half.   

    Stainbrook finished with a double double, 13 points and 11 rebounds.

    GAME NOTES: With the win WMU improves to 8-9 and 2-1 in the MAC. Toledo falls to 8-9 and 0-3 in the MAC...The Broncos had 18 assists and held the Rockets to only 5 assists…Whitfield also led the team in blocks with 3…Austin Richie had 10 points and Hayden Hoerdemann had 9…Demetrius Ward struggled from the field going 1-8, but did lead the team in assists with 8…Julius Brown and Rian Pearson were the only Rockets to score in double figures with 17 and 15, respectively…The Broncos return to action on Wednesday as they travel to Ypsilanti to take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles. 

  • Hoerdemann, Stainbrook Lead Broncos Past Huskies, 77-68

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – Freshman Hayden Hoerdemann had a career high 18 points, and Matt Stainbrook had 16 as the Broncos gained their first MAC win of the season, topping Northern Illinois 77-68 Wednesday night at University Arena. With the win the Broncos improved to 7-9 overall and 1-1 in MAC play.

    Northern Illinois challenged the Broncos physically all game, and didn’t look like a team that entered Wednesday with only 1 win.

    “At the beginning of the season they really struggled, but since then this is how all their games have looked like,” Coach Steve Hawkins of Northern. “They played harder than us defensively and they did a great job on the glass and they were physical.”

    And it was the Huskies job rebounding that kept them in the game as they outrebounded the Broncos 33-27. Western entered the game as the top rebounding team in the MAC.

    During the first half the Huskies never trailed by more than 5 and even held a 3 point lead early in the half. But it was the play from Hoerdemann that kept the Huskies at bay, as he had 11 points in the first 20 minutes, going 4-5 from the field and 3-4 from behind the arc.

    “When I first got into the game and the first one went in, I started feeling really good,” Hoerdemann said of his performance. “It feels great to be able to be out there and helping the team out, especially in conference play.”

    Western took a 34-30 lead into the half after Matt Stainbrook drilled a long 2 pointer as time expired.

    The 2nd half was all about Stainbrook. For the majority of the 1st half Stainbrook was doubled team but only had 1 turnover and was key in helping the Broncos get an assist on 20 of their 24 made baskets.

    “I can’t remember one of our teams having that type of field goal to assist ratios in a really, really long time,” Hawkins said. “Stainbrook would have a lot of assists if this were hockey. He had a lot of passes that led to other assists. I thought he played phenomenal tonight.”

    The Broncos outscored Northern 43-38 in the 2nd half and held an 11 point advantage with 9:51 remaining in the game.

    GAME NOTES: Flenard Whitfield returned to the starting lineup for the first time in over a month. He finished with 4 points and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes of action…Nate Hutchenson had 17 points…Demetrius Ward was the only other Bronco to finish in double figures, as he had 11…Tim Toler scored 15 for the Huskies, all coming from behind the 3 point line…The Broncos shot 95% from the free throw line (20-21)...Mike Douglas moved into 3rd place all time on the Broncos career assist leaders, as he finished with 8 helpers, passing Todd Dietrich…The victory over Northern Illinois gave Coach Steve Hawkins 152 wins as Bronco. He is now tied for 2nd all-time with Bob Donewald…The Broncos next game is Saturday against Toledo. Game time is set for 2pm at University Arena.

  • Game Notes: WMU Basketball Vs. Northern Illinois

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – Tonight at University Arena the Western Michigan University men’s basketball team returns to MAC play as Northern Illinois travels to Kalamazoo to take on the Broncos. Before the game starts here are a few notes about tonight’s matchup between the Broncos and Huskies.

    *This will be the 78th matchup between WMU and Northern Illinois. The Broncos hold the all-time advantage 48-29, including a 30-8 record at home against the Huskies.

    *WMU enters the game 6-9 overall and 0-1 in the MAC, after falling to Ball State 78-69 during Saturday’s MAC opener.

    *Against Ball State, senior Flenard Whitfield returned to action after missing a month with an ankle injury. Whitfield came off the bench scoring 6 points and recording 4 rebounds in 12 minutes. Whitfield should return to the starting lineup against Northern Illinois.

    * Mike Douglas returned to action as well against Ball State, after missing the Broncos previous game against Milwaukee-Wisconsin.

    *Douglas is 5 assists away from moving into 3rd place All-time on the Broncos career assists leaders.

    *The Broncos are an undefeated 5-0 at home in 2011-12, winning games by an average of 12.6 points

    *As of January 9th, the Broncos had played the 11th-most difficult schedule in the nation, according to RealTimeRPI.com

    *Demetrius Ward is averaging 14.0 points per game in his last eight outings, including 15+ points in five of those games. Ward is also 1 of 2 Broncos to start all 15 games this season. Matt Stainbrook is the other.

    *The Broncos are 4-0 when holding opponents under 61 points. Northern Illinois is averaging 53.3 points per game.

    *Steve Hawkins has 151 career wins, and needs just one more to tie Bob Donewald (152) for second on the all-time coaching victories list at WMU.

  • Broncos Hockey Falls to #11 After Weekend Sweep

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – After falling to Minnesota-Duluth on Friday and Saturday, the Broncos hockey team has dropped 2 spots in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Poll to #11.

    WMU held early advantages in both games this past weekend but couldn’t hold the lead and eventually lost 4-1 and 5-2 on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

    The Broncos return to action this weekend with a home and home series against #3 Norte Dame. The first game is Friday at Norte Dame before returning to Lawson Arena on Saturday.

  • With The Return Of Flenard Whitfield, Broncos Are Still Favorites To Win MAC West

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI(WKZO) – Saturday’s loss to BallStatewasn’t pretty. The Broncos never led and found themselves in a 16 point deficit during the 2nd half before ultimately falling 78-69 to the Cardinals. Still this team should win the MAC West.

    I know that MAC play just started and there is still more than half the season remaining on the schedule so anything can happen. But this team has the talent and experience to repeat as MAC West Champs. And the return of Flendard Whitfield will go a long in helping the Broncos repeat.

    Before Whitfield went down with the injury the Broncos were 1-7, with their lone win coming against division 3 HopeCollege. During the month that Whitfield missed with a sprained ankle, the Broncos were able to compile a 5-1 record in his absence to the surprise of many, including myself. But anytime you get a player back who was picked to the preseason 1st Team All-MAC, it can only improve your roster.

    Whitfield looked like he hadn’t played in over a month as he finished with only 6 points and 4 rebounds in limited action againstBall St. It’s going to take the senior a game or two to get himself back into playing shape and once he does, this team has the chance to be scary good.  

  • MAC Football Realigns Divisions For 2012.

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – With the addition of UMass to the Mid-American Conference for the 2012 season, the MAC announced today the realignment of their division. UMass will be joining the East division, while Bowling Green will be headed to the West, joining Western Michigan.

    The new division will now look like this:

     MAC East:  Akron; Buffalo; Kent State; UMass; Miami; Ohio and Temple.

    MAC West:  Ball State; Bowling Green; Central Michigan; Eastern Michigan; Northern Illinois; Toledo and Western Michigan.

    This is the first time since the addition of Temple in 2006 that the MAC has realigned its divisions.

    The Broncos also announced today their MAC opponents for the 2012 season. Western will face Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois and Temple at Waldo Stadium. WMU will travel to Bowling Green, CMU, Ball State and Kent State.  Temple and Kent State are the lone cross over games on the schedule.

    Along with these games, Western Michigan boasts a non-conference schedule of Connecticut and Eastern Illinois at home, while Illinois and Minnesota will be road contests in 2012.

    WMU will open its season on September 1, 2012 at Illinois and will opening their home schedule against Eastern Illinois the following weekend

    UMass will begin conference play for the 2012 football season and will be eligible for the conference football championship game and a bowl game beginning in the 2013 football season.

    The conference office will announce the 2012 regular season football schedule by the first week of March. 

  • Broncos Deal Oakland Worse Home Loss in 4 Years, Win 91-76

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    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.

  • WMU Head Coach Bill Cubit, "We Want To Do Something That Nobody Has Ever Done In Bronco History"

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) -- 5 more days until the Broncos look to become the first team in Western Michigan history to win a bowl game. Western Michigan look to make history when they take on Purdue in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in Detroit on December 27th. As the team continues to prepare for the bowl game WMU Head Coach Bill Cubit spoke with Broncos Sports First about the upcoming bowl game, the awards that his players have won this year, the 3 new junior college transfers he'll have on his team next year and what he wants to Christmas.

  • VIDEO: WMU DT Drew Nowak, "We're Ready To Go Out There And Prove Ourselves Again"

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) -- The Western Michigan football team is in their final week of preparation before the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl on December 27th against Purdue at Ford Field. As the Broncos get ready for the game, MAC Defensive Player of the Year Drew Nowak spoke with Broncos Sports First about his favorite moment of the year, what his post season awards have meant to him, and he also tells us about his new mustache.

  • VIDEO: WMU QB Alex Carder, "We Win This Bowl Game, It Ranks Us Up There WIth The Best Broncos"

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) -- We are now less than 6 days away from the Little Caesar's Bowl featuring the Western Michigan Broncos and Purdue Boilermakers. As the Broncos prepare for their first bowl game since 2008, quarterback Alex Carder took a moment of his time to speak with Broncos Sports First about the upcoming game, what a win would mean for this team, and tells us about his new facial hair.