Men’s Basketball team gets a win over Western Michigan

The only thing better than Spencer Parker’s shot from behind the arc for the Falcon’s Tuesday night was their defensive pressure.

The junior forward, who admitted to having some struggles with head coach Chris Jans this season, came off the bench for the second straight game. Despite this, he was hotter than he has been all season scoring 19 points in 23 minutes and shooting 5-5 from behind the arc.

“I’m just trying to help my team,” Parker said. “Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, it doesn’t really matter as long as we get the win.”

Parker’s shooting was only out-matched by the Falcons’ ability to force Western Michigan into 17 turnovers, scoring 27 points off of those turnovers. That defensive effort carried them to a 65-49 win against the 14-10 [5-6] and defending Mid-American Conference Champion Broncos.

“I feel like we are a good defensive team,” said senior guard Anthony Henderson. “It shouldn’t really be a surprise to us, if we play good defense we don’t have to score a lot of points.”

Henderson added 15 points, six rebounds and more importantly helped hold WMU’s best scoring threat, David Brown, to nine points on 3-12 shooting.

“We gave [Brown] all the respect he deserves,” said head coach Chris Jans. “Ant has developed into a tremendous defender. It’s nice as a coach to know you have a guy, when you’re facing a team that had a good perimeter scorer, that you can put him on him and more often than not he is going to shut him down.”

The Falcons, who never trailed in the game, used a five minute first half run to pull away from the Broncos. In that run the Falcons forced three turnovers and the Broncos went scoreless for seven possessions.

A Connar Tava layup ended the 10-0 run, but the momentum carried over for the Falcons as they went into halftime leading 34-22.

“I thought we started off pretty well, we had a pretty good first half,” Jans said.

The Falcons have struggled to put teams away in recent games, so the way the second half began gave Falcon fans in the Stroh a reason to be nervous.

The Broncos came out and blocked a Richaun Holmes layup, which led to a Tava layup. Then a Zack Denny turnover lead to another WMU layup.

One minute into the half the Falcons’ lead was cut to single digits and Jans called a timeout.

“We didn’t start the second half well, we were disappointed,” Jans said. “We had double digit leads at some point in the second half in the last three games. This one we started the second half with one …. We made some subs, I was not happy with them and Anthony Henderson made some shots to get us back going.”

The Falcons would get on the board with a Clarke free throw, but it wasn’t until Anthony Henderson’s three went through the net that the Falcon fans could relax a bit.

“I just had a mind set of not letting them comeback and make it a close game,” Henderson said. “I just tried to do what I could and shoot the ball.”

He followed that with another three 30 seconds later and pushed the Falcons lead to 41-26. That three was followed by a Jovan Austin to Holmes alley-oop connection and a Parker three that shifted the momentum to the Falcons for good.

The Broncos did get the lead down to 13 points with seven minutes to go, but back-to-back threes from Parker shut that run down and closed the thought of any Broncos comeback.

With the win and the University of Toledo’s win against Buffalo, the Falcons are now in a two-way tie for first in the MAC East and a three-way tie for first in the MAC overall.

“To be honest at this point I don’t know where we are at,” Jans said after being asked how he would rate his team. “I know what our record is, I know where we are at in the league, but I know there is a lot of basketball to be played. Just like one play can turn a game, one game can turn a season.”