WMU at the MAC 2007 Tourney

Northern Illinois Edged By Western Michigan, 67-62
March 7, 2007 from http://niuhuskies.cstv.com/

CLEVELAND (AP) - Freshman David Kool lived up to his name, calmly sinking four free throws in the final 10 seconds as Western Michigan gutted out a 67-62 win over Northern Illinois in the final opening round game of the Mid-American Conference tournament on Wednesday night. Kool, voted the MAC's top first-year player, finished with 14 points -- making 9-of-10 free throws in the second half.

Joe Reitz added 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Broncos (16-15), who shot just 35 percent from the floor, made 2-of-11 3-pointers and missed key free throws down the stretch. But they made just enough big plays to move on. Western Michigan will play Kent State in Thursday's quarterfinals. In their only meeting during the regular season, the Broncos beat the Golden Flashes by 22 points.

Cody Yelder led Northern Illinois (7-23) with 20 points and Mike McKinney added 14 points and 10 rebounds. It was the second meeting in six days between the schools, and this one also went to Western Michigan, which beat Northern Illinois 68-54 on March 1.

Two free throws by Reitz put the Broncos ahead 62-54 with 45 seconds left but the Huskies cut it to 63-60 on Yelder's basket. Kool was fouled and dropped two free throws with 10.5 seconds left. Yelder drove the length of the floor for a layup to make it 65-62 with 4.9 seconds remaining, and Northern Illinois was forced to foul. The Broncos hurried an inbound pass to Kool, who made 82-of-90 free throws during the regular season, and the 6-foot-3 guard put it away at the line.

Bring On the Zips! Flashes Eliminate Western Michigan
March 8, 2007 from http://www.kentstatesports.com/

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Senior Omni Smith scored 14 points and led a second-half surge that carried Kent State to a 75-66 win over Western Michigan and into the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament Thursday night. Freshman Chris Singletary added 12 points for the Golden Flashes (21-10), the defending tournament champs, who will meet bitter rival Akron in Friday's second semifinal. The two teams just played on Sunday with the Zips edging Kent State 66-64 in overtime to win the MAC East title.

As the clock ticked down in the final seconds, Kent's fans chanted, "We want Akron." Top-seeded Toledo will play No. 4 seed Miami of Ohio in Friday's first semifinal. Down by five after halftime, Kent State went on a 16-3 run to take a 56-48 lead on Singletary's baseline jumper with 10:25 to play.

The Golden Flashes extended their lead to 70-58 before the Broncos (16-16), who beat Kent State by 22 during the regular season, scored eight straight to cut the deficit to four on freshman David Kool's free throws. But Kent State took care of the ball down the stretch and made five free throws in the final 1:20, advancing to the semis for the fifth time in six years. Joe Reitz scored 15 points and Kool, the league's top first-year player, had 14 for Western Michigan.

Hoping to get a rematch and set up a semifinal showdown with their enemy from down Interstate 76, the Golden Flashes reeled off 16 straight points in the first half to open a 37-24 lead before the Broncos recovered. Derek Drews drained a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left and then hit a 15-foot jumper with two seconds to go as Western Michigan closed the first 20 minutes with an 11-0 run to pull within 38-35 at the break.

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Thomas R. Wolf, Jr. <wmuwolf@gmail.com>

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