by Sean Fagan
David Brown hit the game-tying three-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining, and the Western Michigan men's basketball notched an improbable come-from-behind win, defeating the Wyoming Cowboys 75-68 in overtime at the Auditorium-Arena on Monday. With the win, the Broncos improve to 22-12, and will play in the semifinal round of the 2013 College Basketball Invitational presented by Buick on Wednesday, March 27, when they take on George Mason on the road. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Broncos trailed by three points with eight seconds remaining when Wyoming's Josh Adams made one of two free throws. Darius Paul grabbed the defensive rebound and the Broncos, playing without a timeout, were fouled on their own sideline with 3.5 seconds remaining. The ball made its way into the right corner for Brown, who drilled the three and tied the game at 59-59.
Now with the momentum, the Broncos silenced the once-raucous crowd at the "Double A" with a defensive clinic in the overtime period. The Broncos held the Cowboys to 3-of-10 shooting in the extra period while shooting 4-of-7 themselves, out-scoring the 'Pokes 16-8. The Broncos went a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line in overtime to seal the victory, with Brown and Brandon Pokley each going 4-of-4 from the stripe to ice away the win.
Brown finished with 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting, and also grabbed three steals. Shayne Whittington finished with his 12th double-double of the season, posting 16 points and 10 rebounds to go with four blocks and one steal. Whittington's four blocks give him 57 for the season, making him the single-season record holder at Western Michigan.
The first half was evenly matched, with the Cowboys coming back from five points down to take a two-point lead entering the halftime break. Wyoming opened the game on a 10-4 run, with Riley Grabau capping the streak with a three-pointer at the 14:35 mark. Brown stopped the bleeding with a jumper at the 14:20 mark, and Connar Tava made it 12-8 with a spin move and a lay-up with 13:35 remaining.
Pokley scored five straight points on consecutive possessions to pull the Broncos closer, making a pull-up jumper at the 11:24 mark to make it 15:11 and draining an open three-pointer from the right corner to a one-point game. Whittington gave the Broncos the lead with a pair of free throw makes at the 10:21 mark, and WMU was able to build up to a five-point lead when he made a 15-foot jumper at the 1:40 mark to make it 29-24.
However, the Broncos were cold for a long stretch after that, not scoring another
basket until well into the second half. By that point the Cowboys had taken an eight-point lead, as Leonard Washington made a jumper from the paint at the 15:17 mark. The lead remained at eight points until the 13:49 mark, when Brown drilled a three-pointer to cut it to five; Whittington made a 12-footer from the right wing at the 12:57 mark to cut it to five again, and Austin Richie nailed a three at the 12:18 mark to make it 44-42.
The 'Pokes went on an 8-2 run to extend the lead again, capping the rally with a jumper from Larry Nance, Jr. Paul gave the Broncos momentum with a jumper from the head of the key, and Pokley made a pull-up jumper with 5:55 left in regulation to make it a four-point game. Washington kept it a two-possession game with a lay-up in the paint at the 2:01 mark, but Paul made another jumper to cut it to one possession, and Whittington tied it with a drive and a reverse lay-up at the 1:10 mark.
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