Western Michigan men’s basketball lost to its rival Central Michigan by a score of 69-70 in devastating fashion Saturday night. WMU had an 11-point lead with four minutes remaining but could not hold on. The Broncos have now lost four in a row and its record drops to 6-15 overall and 2-6 in Mid-American Conference play.
Lamar Norman Jr. led the Broncos in scoring with 27 points with five of his six field goals coming from beyond the arc. The senior reached the free throw line 12 times and made 10. Freshman Seth Hubbard scored 16 of the Broncos 19 bench points, going 6-10 from the field and 3-6 from three.
WMU gave up 18 points off turnovers in the game and only scored eight points off turnovers itself, a stat which has been a problem all year. WMU has scored more points off turnovers than its opponent in just five of its 21 games this season.
The Broncos opened strong outscoring the Chips 21-11 in the first 11 minutes. Norman Jr. scored nine of those 21 points. It was a back-and-forth battle for the remainder of the half with WMU ultimately leading by eight with a score of 33-25 going into the second half.
WMU lead by seven points or more for the first 10 minutes of the second half. With 9:43 on the clock Reggie Bass of CMU hit a three and got fouled to bring the Chips within five. However, WMU responded well by going on a 14-8 run in the following six minutes. The score was 66-55 with four minutes to play.
CMU did not give up though. The Chips went on a 12-1 run to cut the deficit to one with 16 seconds remaining. Norman Jr. was fouled on the next possession and had a chance to give the Broncos a three-point lead. The senior hit one of two at the line and the door was open for CMU to win the game. With no timeouts the chips went the length of the floor and Brian Taylor hit a three over the extended arms of Titus Wright. The Broncos had five seconds to make something happen but Norman Jr.’s three-point attempt fell short to come to a 70-69 final score.
In the final four minutes the Broncos went 3-7 from the free throw line. WMU shot 17-25 from the charity stripe in the game. The Broncos also turned the ball over twice in those four minutes which led to four CMU points.
WMU looks to bounce back Tuesday when it comes home to play Northern Illinois. The game will be played at 7:00 pm and can be streamed on ESPN+ and Bronco Media Network.