Rochester, MI – The Western Michigan Broncos came into Oakland’s O’rena last night and came away with an 82-71 victory- wasting junior Tommie McCune’s career high 27 point performance. In what was scripted to be a storybook night on Beat Cancer night, recognizing the life and death of McCune’s mother, Lathrisha, who succumbed to the disease in June, the Broncos shot a sizzling 57 percent from the floor to go to 2-0 on the season and put a slight damper on the evening.
McCune, a top 100 player out of Saginaw, MI H.S. in 2011, originally signed with Bob Huggins and West Virginia but transferred to Oakland after a year and 13 games. In his sophomore campaign last season, McCune played in the shadow of Travis Bader, holder of the NCAA record for most career 3pt FG’s- surpassing JJ Redick’s numbers late last season. Bader, the 5th year senior, had a breakout Portsmouth Invitational making the All-Star team there and now plays professionally in France. As a second fiddle last season, McCune averaged 5.6 ppg and only showed few flashes of his prior brilliance.
However, last night he was 8-of-13 from the floor, 3-of-3 from the arc and 8-of-10 from the stripe, displaying a wide array of skills and athletic ability. At 6-8 and 210, McCune has excellent length and uses it to his advantage to score over people inside on drives and on the glass. Yet, he’s versatile enough to take and make the trey and pull up for mid-range jumpers.
While he plays a lot at the #4 for Oakland, he has a natural #3 game and he bears tracking this season and next. The only real help McCune received last night was from 5’9″ Kahlil Felder, who had 14 points, eight assists and four steals as the Golden Grizzlies fell to 0-3.
Leading the way for the Broncos was the trio of junior Conner Tava (21 and 10) and sophmores Tucker Haymond (19) and Kellen McCormick (14 with 4 triples) – son of Tim McCormick of University of Michigan and NBA fame. In an interesting sidebar, WMU’s own 5th year senior center from last season, Shayne Whittington, joined Bader on the All-Star team at Portsmouth last April and made the Indiana Pacers roster this fall basically off that performance.
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