Game #9-181: Western Michigan Broncos at High Point PanthersDecember 16, 2012 3:00 pm
If you are a mid-major fan out there and have always wanted to check out a school but never had an opportunity, this might be the best time of the year to do so. With the students gone on winter break, every university is trying to fill their respective arenas and gyms the best they can. You can find discounted prices, free giveaways, or package deals at great prices anywhere around the country.
Take for example my destination on Sunday, as High Point was scheduled to face Western Michigan. When you go to buy an individual ticket at High Point, you usually have to sit in the seating on the second level behind one of the baskets. These seats are hardly ideal, since the basket can obstruct your view if you are not sitting at the right angle. The lower level seats a few hundred people and is reserved for students, band, and season-ticket holders so the chances to sit down there are minimal if you are a casual fan.
With most of the students gone, High Point had a great deal with Living Social. Normally the price of a ticket is $12 to sit upstairs, but that same $12 got you a seat in the lower level, a hot dog, a drink, and a free t-shirt. I am not one to wave my arms wildly in efforts to get a free t-shirt, but I will gladly take some free swag if it is being given away. I jumped on this deal as soon as I found out about it as I would get to see a Big South team and a directional Michigan team I have always followed back to my days of living in Michigan and knowing several WMU graduates.
I could tell a bunch of families took advantage of this deal since the section I was in had plenty of families of four or five with the same free t-shirt. I stood out as one of the few random mid-major basketball junkies in the vicinity, but was joined by Ian McCormick
after the half. Ian, an HPU alum himself, gave me a history of his days at High Point and the progression of the Millis Center and the Panther teams throughout the years. While I had read about his many experiences in his recaps over the past two years it was still good to have him there as a source when any question popped in my head about High Point
My only experience with High Point this year was when I saw them put up a very poor overall performance against William & Mary
. There did not seem to be any team cohesion as the Panthers were very erratic on offense. I have kept an eye on Western Michigan and knew they were having a pretty good year compared to years previous. Ever since former WMU stars Joe Reitz and David Kool graduated, it seems like the Broncos have failed to gain any traction in the MAC.
One familiar player from Western's roster was Brandon Pokley, the Broncos' starting shooting guard who graduated from Clarkston High School. I graduated 10 years before him, but this essentially guaranteed victory since anyone from CHS is awesome.
Western Michigan will probably not be seen as a team with a dominant frontcourt, but they were able to create match-up problems against a front line like High Point's which uses athletic forwards like Alan Chaney and John Brown. The Broncos were able to score early and easily in the paint with Darius Paul and Shayne Whittington. High Point stayed with it by using their edge in athleticism to create five early turnovers and cash them in causing a 10-10 tie.
That is when everything started to fall apart for High Point. The undisciplined team that was picked apart by William & Mary started to rear its ugly head again. On offense, the Panthers were either taking rushed shots or sloppily turning over the ball. There were no second chance opportunities as Western would limit them to one shot.