KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) –It was clear from the opening tip that Division 3 Hope College was going to struggle against the Western Michigan basketball team due to their lack of size. In the end the lack of size and athletic ability did come into play as the Broncos rolled the Dutchman 80-58, for their first win of the season Wednesday night at University Arena.
After dropping their first 6 games of the season by an average of almost 16 points, and now facing a division 3 school, there was a chance for a letdown game from the Broncos.
“I was worried about this game,” Coach Steve Hawkins said. “I just didn’t know what our players had in the tank, but I was very pleased.”
Hawkins had to be pleased with Matt Stainbrook as he scored the Broncos first 8 points and finished with 19 and Flendard Whitfield added a team high 22 points for the Broncos. Whitfield entered the game needing only 12 points to become the 35th Bronco to score 1000 points in his career and topped the 1000 point mark with 3:19 left in the first half.
“That’s a lot of points,” Whitfield said after the game. “I couldn’t have done it without all my teammates in the past and my teammates now. It comes from a lot of hard work.”
The Flying Dutchmen scored the opening basket, but the Broncos went on a 15-2 run to put themselves up by double figures after 5 minutes of play and never looked back. During the first half the Broncos led by as much as 21, before Hope closed the gap to 16 at halftime, 41-25.
The 2nd half saw much of the same domination the Broncos showed in the 1st half and as they held a 24 point lead with 9:15 left in the game and outscored Hope 39-33 in the final 20 minutes.
Freshman guard Austin Richie made his first career start in place of the injured Mike Douglas, and finished with 13 points in 27 minutes, and made 3 of his 5 shots from behind the arc.
“It was a lot of fun,” Richie said of getting his first career start. “It’s a great group of guys to play with. Stinks not being able to play with Mikey but I always have fun playing ball.”
David Brown also made his first career start for Western and finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds in 19 minutes of action.
The Broncos dominated the rebounding battle, finishing with 55 rebounds, 27 of them offensive. Whitfield and Stainbrook had 11 and 8 boards respectively.
Billy Seiler scored 14 points to lead Hope.
GAME NOTES: Demetrius Ward left the game early in the first half after busting his lip on a hard screen from Hope center Davie Krombeen. Ward returned to the game and finished with 4 points and 6 assists…WMU finished the game shooting 44% from the field and 33% from 3 point land…The Broncos bench outscored Hope’s bench 13-6…13 different Broncos saw action during the game…The Broncos return to the court on December 8th as they travel to the Motor City to take on the Detroit Mercy Titans.