The Streak Ends in Heartbreaker

<i>Leading Scorer Joe Reitz</i>

With the 25-game home winning streak on the line the Broncos (13-4, 6-1 MAC) pulled to within 1 point of Ball State (9-5, 4-2 MAC) on a basket by Rickey Willis with 2:55 left… and no one would score the rest of the game as the Cardinals won 66-65. The 5,055 fans, who were loud enough to drown out the PA announcer at times, left quietly wondering what may have happened had one of Ben Reed's last minute shots found the bottom of the net.

Ben Reed would fight hard under the basket in the waning seconds of today's game missing one shot and then having the ball tied up for a held ball… possession arrow pointing Ball State's way. "I don't want to talk about that. I'm going to say something I'll regret," said coach Steve Hawkins holding back his obvious frustration with the officials.

But it would be poor shooting in the entire second half that would stop the Broncos from winning a game they led 35-29 at the half. WMU would shoot just 8 for 22 (1 for 5 on three-pointers) in the second half and go just 3 for 14 from three-point range in the whole game.

The Broncos hitting 18 of 22 at the free-throw line kept the game close but the game would stay just slightly out of reach as the Cardinals hit 10 three-pointers. "The problem for us is we were scoring our points inside the three-point line and they were scoring from outside," said Hawkins.

Payton Stovall would lead BSU with 18 points and 8 rebounds followed by Dennis Trammel with 16 points. The Broncos were led by freshman Joe Reitz with 25 points and Brian Snider would pull down 8 boards. Levi Rost and Stane's Bufford would add 14 and 11 points respectively.

"I've got to give all the credit to Rickey [Willis] and Brian [Snider] for that," said Reitz on his terrific scoring night. "They did a great job of getting me the ball, but we still came up short in the end."

Ball State's starting forward Terrance Chapman would leave the game at the 5:44 mark of the first half with a shoulder injury and would not return. "I don't know the extent of the injury," said Ball State coach Tim Buckley.

According to Hawkins the injury to Chapman was one reason for the Broncos troubles in the game. "When Chapman went down and they brought Matt McCollom in that was another guard and the game became a matter of mismatches," said Hawkins.

"You've got to win your home games to be competitive in the MAC so we're going to have to make one up on the road," said Reitz. That opportunity will come for the Broncos in a trip to Oxford, OH for a match-up with Miami on Wednesday, January 26.

The Broncos will return home for a contest with archrivals Central Michigan next Saturday, January 29 at 4:30pm.

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