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January 14, 2009

D Ward has his coming out party

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP)-Freshman guard Demetrius Ward scored a career-high 14 points, leading Western Michigan to a 70-52 victory Wednesday night over Toledo.

Four Western Michigan players reached double figures in scoring as the Broncos (5-10, 2-0 Mid-American) scored their most lopsided win of the season. David Kool added 12 points, including three 3-pointers in the first 3:04. Derek Drews scored 11 points and Shawntes Gary had 10.

The Rockets have won just one of their last 24 road games dating back to 2007.

Tyrone Kent led Toledo (2-14, 0-2) with 17 points and a team-high eight rebounds, and Jonathan Amos added 13 points.

A 22-0 run by Western Michigan in the first half handed the Broncos a 23-point lead less than nine minutes into the game.

Western Michigan freshman forward LaMarcus Lowe had a career-high nine rebounds.

Four Broncos scored in double-digits, including a team-high 14 points from freshman guard Demetrius Ward and 12 points from junior David Kool. Kool sank four three-pointers for WMU who as a team attempted 30 shots from beyond the arc and made just seven.

Freshman forward LaMarcus Lowe chipped in nine rebounds and eight points, including a pair of two-handed dunks over Rocket defenders. On the defensive end, Lowe blocked five shots, which is tied for the most by any player in the MAC this season.

Western Michigan guard Andre Ricks talks about freshmen Demetrius Lowe

"Demetrius Ward is a tough player. I've been playing against him all my life. We grew up in the same area. I can walk from my house to his house. He's a great player. That's why we recruited him to get buckets and play defense. He's an awesome rebounder and we knew he could do it. He came out at the right time in conference play.

"He's the best player most of the time in practice. I've been cracking jokes on him that's he just a practice player, but today he took it upon himself. I can't call him that no more."

Western Michigan guard David Kool talks about his quick start, and Lowe and Ward

(On his hot shooting at the beginning of the game) "When you come out of the gates and knock three down like that you feel like it's one of those days where you don't want to get pulled out of the game. (Redell) did a great job, especially pushing the ball up the floor early and getting some open looks and just knock them down with confidence."

(On Demetrius Ward) "He'd been doing that for a couple of weeks in practice and he's just trying to find his way being a freshman and not try to force things. I think he's taking the right approach and he needs to keep doing it in practice. I think that was big for him to come out today and do it in a game and see what it feels like."

(On LaMarcus Lowe) "We know that we're not going to be able to get away with 6-5 and under all year, so LaMarcus is going to be a big part of things. For now, he's going to be our big guy and he's our rock down there. He's been showing that in practice and it's just another thing for him to come out and show the people and let him excel at what he does best, which is block shots, rebound, get quick outlets for us and get the occassional highlight dunk like he did tonight. He really played hard."

Western Michigan head coach Steve Hawkins

(On the game) "It was good on a number of levels for us. The thing I was probably most pleased with is we were able in a conference game to get as many kids as many minutes as we could. You add to that, they didn't just get minutes, they contributed. It really should serve us well relative to confidence as we progress from here. The balance that was there from a minutes standpoint and from a scoring standpoint was the thing I was most pleased with tonight."

(On the second unit) "Best I've seen them look, too. We've known they're capable. We can see it every day. Whether or not they do it everyday is a whole different thing and that is the essence of a freshman, inconsistency. I do think they are getting better and better at it and the bouts of inconsistency are becoming shorter and shorter. I would extend that down to all of our guys. It's been coming and it's great to see these kids get a little reward."


A star may have been born tonight in Demetrius Ward. I watched him three times in high school and can tell you he is the best finisher I've seen come to Western since Ben Reed. Tonight he finally showed what he can do. He's a low key young man who is team oriented kind of player. Was at Detroit Pershing as well. His coach at Pershing (Larry Canada) told me he often had to push him to be more selfish, and according to Hawkins he had to do the same thing.

Tonight he was much more selfish and it showed in his production. He scored most of his points tonight off turnovers that he helped create, and moving without the ball. Wait until he starts getting confident going in the paint and dropping some threes. He's got a very good stroke, and is a beast going to the hole.

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