CLEVELAND, OH (WKZO) – After defeating Northern Illinois 71-54 in 2nd round action of the MAC Tournament, the Western Michigan men’s basketball team has moved on to the quarterfinals where they will face Kent State. Kent St. went 20-10 and 10-6 in MAC play including a 78-73 overtime victory over the Broncos. The winner between the Broncos and Golden Flashes will take on defending MAC Champs Akron in the semis.
3 Keys To Victory
1. Senior Leadership – In the first round against Ball State it was Flenard Whitfield. Against Northern Illinois it was Mike Douglas. In each of the first two games of the MAC Tournament a senior has led the team in scoring and shown leadership when it has been needed. Between Whitifled, Douglas and Demetrius Ward they know that their next loss will signal the end of their collegiate career and each would like to extend their time as Broncos.
2. Finish Strong – In their previous matchup against Kent, the Broncos held a 5 point lead with just over two minutes remaining but Randal Holt hit back-to-back 3 pointers to force overtime. Western must find a way to close out if they hold the lead late. Mike Douglas did not play in the first matchup against Kent. His presence in the lineup could be the difference maker in a close game.
3. Productive Bench – Coach Hawkins did a great job with his player rotation against Northern Illinois that fatigue shouldn’t be an issue for the Broncos on the 2nd half of a back to back. Only 2 starters played more than 30 minutes and Hawkins used 7 players off the bench. The bench will be asked to play big minutes again tonight against Kent to help keep the starters fresh.
Interesting Stat: 30. The number of consecutive victories against MAC West opponents for Kent State. Their last loss came on Feb. 2nd 2008 against Toledo.
Matchup To Watch: WMU Flenard Whitfield Vs. KSU Justin Greene. Greene, the 2011 MAC Player of the Year and 2 time First Team All-MAC Selection, is averaging 13.6 points per game and 6.7 rebounds. He is the only active MAC player with over 1000 points, 100 steals, and 100 blocks. In their previous matchup Whitfield had 18 points and 11 rebounds against Greene. Whitfield must have a similar night against Greene for the Broncos to have a chance to upset the Golden Flash.