Young Broncos Easily Handle Northwood in Kalamazoo
The Tipoff of my 2018-19 college basketball season.
It was a tale of two halves for Western Michigan in today’s exhibition game vs. Northwood University inside University Arena in Kalamazoo Michigan. The first half was plagued with Bronco missed free-throws and turnovers that allowed a scrappy Northwood team to stay with WMU punch for punch. This was to be expected though as head coach Steve Hawkins told me in a postgame interview. “We have six new guys this is the first time they have ever gone through a game day experience here. They don’t know what pregame meal is, pregame shoot around is, they don’t know what a scouting report looks like at the division one level. I felt like it was really important to get them used to game day… You could see that in the first half some of the guys were rusty.” Western’s youth and inexperienced showed in the first half. They even started off 3-7 at the free throw line, and had seven recorded turnovers in the first half. Northwood seemed slightly rattled to start off falling for the old counting down the wrong shot clock, but after that they seemed to find their groove. Northwood would have taken a lead into halftime thanks to a combined 30 (first half) points from Trey McBride, Alec Marty, and Jack Ammerman, however, Western Michigan’s Martin Adrian hit a puller buzzer beating jumper to send the Broncos into the locker-room with a slim 37-36 lead.
In the second half the fourth youngest team in division one came out with something to prove. They roared out to a 51-38 lead thanks to a 14-2 start in the first four and a half minuets of the second half. Western Michigan connected on an impressive off the backboard alley oop to Josh Davis around the 17 minuet mark. After jumping out to an early big lead in the second half the broncos never looked back and beat the visitors by a score of 86-66. Western Michigan was led by their seven foot senior Seth Dugan who had 24 points 8 rebounds and a block. For Northwood Jack Ammerman who was 3-7 from deep led the way with 15.
I talked with Northwood coach Jeff Rekeweg after the game asking him if there was extra motivation today from his team playing in a division one arena against a division one team. He said: ” That’s certainty motivation for guys with a division two school to have the opportunity, most of them their dream was to play division one so anytime you get that opportunity you want to show what you are made of and that you can compete at this level.” Then I asked him what do you need to clean up or tweak before you play number 19 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Friday? He chucked and said to me unless you have a list I don’t know how long you want this interview to go, but then he rattled off his own laundry list “I thought we did a poor job of knowing where the ball was, did a poor job of guarding the dribble, we got out of position guarding Dugan in the post he did a nice job with his body, I thought we could have had more ball pressure without giving up direct line drives.”
Western Michigan is back in action next Saturday at 2 pm inside University Arena against their rivals from the other side of the street Kalamazoo College .
The Zoo on the court at University Arena in Kalamazoo Michigan
As for Northwood they will get their second straight game of Happening Hoops coverage as both they and myself will be heading to Ann Arbor on Friday. I will be covering their game against the number 19 Michigan Wolverines of the Big Ten conference.
By: Ethan Hennessy