Western Michigan 74, Virginia Tech 68
by Chris James, TechSideline.com, 12/22/04

Blacksburg, VA - The Western Michigan Broncos used a hot outside shooting performance to down Virginia Tech 74-68 at Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night. The Broncos shot 11-27 (40.7%) from 3-point range for the night and totaled 26-54 (48.1%) from the field. WMU was led in scoring by Ben Reed who scored 20 points on 5-13 from the field. Levi Rost added 19 points for the Broncos. The two players combined for 9 3-pointers.

The Hokies (5-4, 0-1 ACC) were led in scoring by senior guard Carlos Dixon, who scored 14 points on 5-10 shooting. Sophomore guard Zabian Dowdell added 13 for Tech. Shawn Harris and Jamon Gordon chipped in with 10 points apiece.

The Hokies, who have now lost 4 of their last 5 games, got off to a slow start in the contest. Western Michigan (7-3, 1-0 MAC), winners of 26 games last season, scored the first 10 points of the game, and the Hokies didnít get on the scoreboard until the 14:30 mark of the first half when Zabian Dowdell scored on a breakaway dunk. The game was back and forth after that, with Tech finally able to take the lead with 6:32 remaining in the first half on a layup by Carlos Dixon. That shot put the Hokies up 26-24, and the teams would trade the lead for the remainder of the half, with the game tied at 35 heading into intermission.

Tech only led at one point in the second half, with Zabian Dowdell scoring a layup after collecting a missed 3-pointer by Carlos Dixon. That shot put Tech up 37-35, but the Hokies were never able to gain control of the game after that point. Western Michigan regained the lead and never relinquished it, leading by as many as 7 points in the second half.

The key play in the game came with Western Michigan leading 69-66 and just under 30 seconds remaining. With WMU in possession, Jamon Gordon blocked a shot by Reed, and the ball rolled back to halfcourt with 3 seconds remaining on the shot clock. Virginia Tech freshman forward Deron Washington made a freshman mistake and committed a foul that sent Western Michigan's Staneís Bufford to the line. Bufford connected on two free throws, putting the game out of reach for Tech at 71-66 with 24 seconds left.

The Hokies were again outrebounded by their opponent. The Broncos had 33 rebounds to Techís 31. The Hokies were led in rebounding by Gordon, who pulled down 8 boards. Dowdell was close behind with 7 rebounds, this despite the fact that Gordon and Dowdell are the shortest players on Virginia Techís roster. Gordon also had 6 assists and 3 steals to complete another solid game.

The lack of an inside presence continues to haunt the Hokies. Starting center Robert Krabbendam did not score or get a rebound, and he played only 4 minutes. Backup Allen Calloway scored 2 points and had 6 rebounds. Regular starting center Coleman Collins remains sidelined while recovering from foot surgery. Collins was expected to play tonight, and he dressed out, but a game time decision by doctors kept him on the bench.

Virginia Tech returns to action on Monday, December 27 when they host Morgan State (3-6, 1-1 MEAC) in Cassell Coliseum. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will not be televised.


WESTERN MICH (74)

                          fg    ft    rb             
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t   a  pf   tp
L Rost              33  6-13   2-2   1-6   1   2   19
J Reitz             20   5-8   0-0   2-3   0   4   10
R Willis            36   4-7   0-0   0-1   7   0    8
S Bufford           33   5-8   3-3   5-7   0   2   14
B Reed              32  5-13   6-9   1-6   4   4   20
S Laku              16   1-4   0-0   1-3   0   0    3
A Hershberger        9   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0    0
D Hess               5   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0    0
J Bronson           16   0-1   0-0   1-2   1   4    0
  
_____________________________________________________
TOTALS             200 26-54 11-14 11-28  13  16   74
_____________________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.481, FT-.786.

3-Point Goals: 11-27, .407 (L Rost 5-10, R Willis 0-3, S 
Bufford 1-1, B Reed 4-9, S Laku 1-4).

Team Rebounds: 5.

Blocked Shots: 3 (L Rost 2, J Reitz).

Turnovers: 18 (J Reitz 6, J Bronson 4, B Reed 3, S Bufford 2,
R Willis, S Laku, L Rost).

Steals: 6 (S Bufford 2, R Willis, J Bronson, S Laku, A Hershberger).

VIRGINIA TECH (68)

                          fg    ft    rb             
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t   a  pf   tp
C Dixon             38  5-10   3-5   1-1   2   3   14
R Krabbendam         4   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0    0
Z Dowdell           31  6-13   0-0   3-7   2   3   13
D Washington        20   3-5   1-2   0-0   0   1    7
J Gordon            39  5-14   0-1   4-8   6   4   10
S Harris            13   4-6   0-0   2-4   0   2   10
W Witherspoon       19   2-4   0-0   2-2   4   1    5
M Cooke             22   3-5   0-0   0-2   1   2    7
A Calloway          14   1-4   0-0   3-6   1   1    2
  
_____________________________________________________
TOTALS             200 29-62  4-8  15-30  16  17   68
_____________________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.468, FT-.500.

3-Point Goals: 6-15, .400 (C Dixon 1-4, R Krabbendam 0-1, Z 
Dowdell 1-3, J Gordon 0-1, S Harris 2-2, W Witherspoon 1-2,
M Cooke 1-2).

Team Rebounds: 1.

Blocked Shots: 5 (D Washington 3, C Dixon, J Gordon).

Turnovers: 16 (J Gordon 4, Z Dowdell 3, D Washington 3,
M Cooke 3, S Harris 2, W Witherspoon).

Steals: 8 (J Gordon 3, S Harris 2, C Dixon, W Witherspoon, D 
Washington).


-----------------------------------
WESTERN MICH         35  39   -  74
VIRGINIA TECH        35  33   -  68
----------------------------------- 

Technical fouls: None. A: 9,847. Officials: 
Bernard Clinton, David Guthrie, Ray Natili


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