Playing their third game in five days, the Western Michigan Broncos should’ve been the ones to fall flat late in Saturday’s game against the Miami RedHawks.
Coming off a bye week, the RedHawks should’ve been the ones full of energy, ready to capitalize when the closing moments arrived.
What should’ve happened, didn’t.
Miami held a 68-63 lead with a minute and a half to go but allowed Western Michigan to knot the score at 68 and send the contest to overtime. The Broncos finished strong and prevailed with an 84-79 victory at Read Fieldhouse.
It was the first overtime game of the season for the RedHawks (13-12, 5-7 Mid-American).
If you turned the game on at the start of the second half, you tuned in just in time to catch the Kawanise Wilkins Show.
After scoring only four points in the first half, the sophomore forward dropped 17 in the second and five in overtime. His final five provided the difference in the game, as Western Michigan tallied 16 in the period while Miami mustered only 11.
Wilkins ranks fourth on his team (8-18, 2-11 MAC) in average points per game with 7.4.
Miami led 33-28 at halftime despite some inconsistent play.
Sophomore forward Dalonte Brown had 13 points and sophomore guard Jalen Adaway scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds before the break. But, overall, the RedHawks clipped their own wings by shooting 35.7 percent from the field and turning the ball over eight times.
They stayed ahead by keeping the Broncos’ offense at bay, holding them to 33.3 percent shooting from the field.
To start the second half, sophomore guard Nike Sibande converted a layup to push Miami’s advantage to seven (35-28).
Over the next 11 minutes, Western Michigan broke out of its shooting slump and sent the RedHawks spiraling into one. The result: a 24-10 WMU run to put the Broncos up 52-45.
From the 17-minute mark to 9:30, Miami didn’t make a single field goal attempt. Senior guard Darrian Ringo ended the dry spell with a layup.
The RedHawks battled back to take a 54-53 lead on a Ringo and-one layup with 6:37 left. They held the lead for the majority of the remaining time.
Two Sibande free throws extended their lead to six (66-60) with two minutes to go.
With a minute and a half on the clock, Ringo made a layup to give Miami a 68-63 lead. It was the last MU bucket in regulation.
Wilkins took over and hit a mid-range jumper followed by a 3-pointer on the next possession to tie the game at 68 with 30 seconds remaining.
The RedHawks milked the clock all the way down before Ringo missed a triple with two seconds left, giving fans an additional five minutes of basketball.
A minute into O.T., Wilkins missed a layup, but senior center Seth Dugan corralled an offensive rebound and tipped it back in for the first bucket by either team in the period. Western Michigan led for the rest of the game.
Wilkins scored five points and dished out one assist in overtime, sealing an 84-79 win.
He was joined by two other Broncos in double-figure scoring. Freshman guard William Boyer-Richard put up 16 points while sophomore guard Michael Flowers added 14 of his own. Dugan finished with a team-high 10 rebounds but fell two points shy of a double-double.
Unlike Dugan, Adaway did score enough for a double-double. He had 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, tying his season high in the latter category. Brown (17), redshirt senior guard Abdoulaye Harouna (17) and Sibande (15) all recorded double-digit point totals.
Miami is back in action tomorrow night as it hosts Ball State (14-11, 5-7 MAC) at Millett Hall. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPN+.