KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Anthony Kann scored 19 points
and his last one sealed Western Michigan's 63-62 victory over
Illinois-Chicago in the opening round of the Owens Corning NIT.
The Broncos had a 62-59 lead when Kann, who also pulled down 13
rebounds, went to the free throw line with five seconds left. He
hit 1-of-2 shots to render Aaron Carr's last-second 3-pointer
Western Michigan (20-10) led most of the way after seizing
control with a 10-2 run in the first half that provided a 27-19
lead just 5:57 before halftime.
Illinois-Chicago (21-9) rallied to take a 59-58 lead with 3:03
left on a three-point play by Joe Scott. Western Michigan
responded when Mike Williams hit a jump shot on the next
possession and Robby Collum hit two free throws with 53 seconds
Kann, who led Western Michigan in scoring at 14.4 points per
game this season, led the Broncos to their first NIT win.
Western Michigan has made only one other appearance in the
tournament, bowing out to Notre Dame in 1992.
The Broncos have won five of their last six games and will face
Siena in a first-round game.
Armond Williams led the Flames with 18 points, while Cedrick
Banks, who scored 19 points per game to lead Illinois-Chicago
during the season, added 16.
Illinois-Chicago, which lost in the first round of last season's
NCAA Tournament, was playing in the NIT for the first time. The
Flames lost their final two games by a total of three points.
Western Michigan led 29-27 at halftime after shooting 50 percent
(13-of-26). The Broncos won despite shooting just 28 percent
(8-of-29) after the intermission, thanks to 17 free throws.
The Flames made just 8-of-20 free throws, including an 3-of-11
in the second half.
Kann had 13 rebounds to lead Western Michigan's 47-38 rebounding