Bowling Green, OH – Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - David Brown poured in a career-high 32 points to help Western Michigan capture the MAC Tournament title with a 98-77 win over Toledo.
Tucker Haymond added 21 points and nine rebounds and Shayne Whittington had 20 points and 13 boards for the top-seeded Broncos (23-9), who earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.
"We weren't ourselves in the first half. Akron had a lot to do with that. We just weren't aggressive. We didn't commit our first foul for 10 minutes, so that's how passive we were. After that we started getting back to our brand of basketball," said Western Michigan coach Steve Hawkins.
Rian Pearson supplied 24 points and Julius Brown finished with 22 points for the Rockets (27-6), who haven't made the NCAA Tournament since 1980.
"We absolutely deserve an at-large bid," said Toledo head coach Tod Kowalczyk. "For us not to be mentioned is a slap in the face not only to us but the entire Mid-American Conference."
Toledo was within three, 56-53, after Jordan Lauf's basket with just under 14 1/2 minutes remaining, but David Brown hit a 3-pointer to spark a 17-9 sequence that put the Broncos on top 73-62.
Toledo never got closer than nine the rest of the way.
Julius Brown's jumper 4 1/2 minutes into the game had Toledo up 12-11, but a 13-2 spurt from Western Michigan made it 24-14 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Rockets clawed within four, 27-23, moments later. Whittington's jumper put the Broncos up 37-30, but Pearson nailed a trey to make it a two-possession game.
J.D. Weatherspoon's slam with one second left in the first half pulled Toledo within 42-40 at the break.
Western Michigan shot 55.7 percent from the floor ... The Broncos outrebounded Toledo 47-27 ... The Rockets committed just four turnovers.